Choosing a site
Now that the structure for planning is in place, the Building Committee should be selecting various possible locations for your new building.
A final decision about a site should not be made until you have decided on the company that you will be working with to design and build your church. (Choosing a company will be discussed in the next article) It is important that this company be involved in the final selection of your site.
When considering the size of property that will be needed there are two basic conditions that should be considered.
1. If you have an existing church, should you remain on your present site and expand your present building?
2. Should you sell and relocate – thus providing a totally new facility? The advantages and disadvantages of the above alternatives should be discussed with your church consultant. For discussion purposes, let us assume that your church is building an entirely new complex.
Now that we have established that you will be moving to a new site, the most important consideration is location. You will need to be sure that your site is in the proper geographic location so that you can adequately minister to your people. Exposure and access is also important if you are trying to attract new people and visitors to your church.
How much property is needed?
If you are building a church facility housing a Sanctuary and Christian Education, a basic rule of thumb can be used. A church seating three hundred persons would require three acres of property. This amount increases by one acre for every three hundred persons above the initial three hundred, so a building seating six hundred would require four acres of property.
This is a very basic rule and ratios may differ depending on the creativity of your designer to get maximum use of your property. Also, if the building is larger, this ratio could decrease.
Of course, this provides for immediate needs only. Since it is essential that you plan for future growth, consideration should be given to purchasing whatever land is available in addition to the area mentioned above. Should you plan for other than a church facility such as a Christian School, Senior Citizens’ Complex, Youth Center, etc. advice should be sought to determine the amount of land required.
When purchasing a site, remember to consider the availability of services such as water, storm and sanitary sewer, hydro and gas.
You should also be careful to identify easements, restrictions and the shape of the land to determine the amount of usable space. Sometimes a large piece of property is not as usable as a smaller piece.
Any purchase of property should be made through a real estate agent who will work on your behalf to get you the best price and guide you through the process of purchasing without getting burned. Your agent will advise you of conditions that should be named in your offer to purchase. These conditions can be anything about which you are in doubt in relation to the piece of property about to be purchased.
Two conditions that should always be in your offer to purchase are soil testing and building permit approval. If you are affiliated with a specific denomination, the purchase of your property should be subject to the approval of your leadership. It is important that you keep your leadership up to date regarding all aspects of your project.
The results of your site research should then be presented to your consulting company for their advice and then your congregation for final approval.