Shades Mountain Sanctuary Renovation Complete

Vestavia Hills, AL – MG+A began working with Shades Mountain in 2001. At the time, nearly 300,000 sf of facilities had been built over the previous 60 years. As is often the case with mega church campuses that were built between the 70’s to 90’s, SMBC was in need of a master plan that would not only modernize the aging spaces, but also improve the circulation and overall flow of spaces around the campus. MG+A completed projects in 2003, 2008 and 2013 which greatly simplified circulation with new and renovated commons spaces. Finally, a member or guest could enter a commons area at any of the three primary entrances, and get to all major ministry areas on the campus. In addition, new and renovated spaces were provided for children, students, adults and administration in these earlier phases.

The final and most complicated phase of the master plan was a complete sanctuary renovation which was completed in September, 2019. During construction, the congregation was dispersed to worship in other venues around the campus; thus, the expediency of the project schedule became a driving factor. With much of the same original finishes (seating, paint, carpet) and other original systems in place, a major overhaul was needed. The primary initiatives for the project were to: (i) repurpose the space to better serve a multi-service format; (ii) enhance functional spaces to meet modern needs (i.e. commons, restrooms, fellowship, etc); (iii) modernize worship center and commons to be more cohesive with other spaces MG+A had updated in previous years; and (iv) address many deferred maintenance items (fully replacing HVAC, electrical systems, fire protection, etc).

Project Highlights include the following:

  • Replaced original seating with new radius pews; new seat count +/- 2,400
  • Removed under-balcony seating to expand Commons, restrooms, etc
  • Reduced stage footprint to capture new seating in front
  • Removed choir loft to create more flexibility with portable risers
  • Installed new center baptistry with stone front and backlit glass art piece
  • Replaced all Audio, Video, Lighting systems; all speakers concealed
  • Added new AVL booths at floor/stage elevations w/ camera platforms
  • Theatrical Lighting & Video accessible via motorized pulley systems
  • House, theatrical, and glass lighting are fully dimmable, DMX controlled
  • Installed two 16’ x 28’ LED Panels 
  • Converted all house lighting to LED fixtures
  • Added fire suppression system throughout on 4 levels
  • Replaced all original HVAC mechanical systems and control system
  • Project duration: Feb ’19 to Sept 19