Sanctuary and Smith Buildings Renovation

Project Owner: First Presbyterian Church of Greensboro

Designer: CJMW Architecture and Harbinson Architects

Completed not long before the Great Depression of 1929, the historic First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro was in dire need of major renovations. The congregation turned to Blum Construction, with its reputation for quality craftsmanship and integrity, for this critically important $15 million project. The restoration of the 80-foot-tall Sanctuary included removal of asbestos, restoration of the chandelier light fixtures, restoration of pews and replacement of floor coverings. Former auditorium space below the Sanctuary was repurposed into offices and meeting facilities. The adjacent Smith Building was repurposed as a welcome center, reading space, child care space, and offices.

The project included taking the Sanctuary down to the studs and replacing "Big John," the original boiler, which was the size of a streetcar. HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems were replaced throughout the buildings. The tight site in downtown Greensboro, as well as the fact that First Presbyterian, with 3,000 members, is one of the busiest congregations in the area, necessitated months of careful coordination to keep staff, church members and visitors safe during construction. The successful project was completed in time for the congregation to celebrate Christmas in the renovated Sanctuary.

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