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The Chapel EFC, New Addition 2015

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In 1977 two couples met at the Howard Johnson Hotel for coffee.  The conversation soon came to “is there a church we could attend in the St. Joseph, Michigan area?”  It was shared that The Evangelical Free Church was planning to develop a church plant.  Later that fall, a call was made to the Great Lakes District to ask the Superintendent if he would meet with these interested people in starting an Evangelical Free Church.


This was the beginning of The Chapel, EFC, which was built on 6.7 acres at 4250 Washington Road.  The church leadership began planning for the future.  Today the church building is approximately 60,000 square feet.


Their Vision

The Chapel is about growing committed followers of Jesus Christ who live to glorify God exhibiting fruit in their lives “This is to my Fathers glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my Disciples.”  John 15:8

We Believe people do this by: 


  • Building Relationships with God and One Another.
  • Bearing Responsibilities for Evangelism and Discipleship.
  • Being Rooted in Christ and His Word.
  • Added on to the building 6 times.
  • Reached an average attendance, counting children, of 750-800 with two morning services.
  • Has five full-time ministers and six part-time ministry staff.
  • Has grown Youth Ministry attendance to 65, and Children’s Ministry attendance is 140.


 Based on this vision and people who are rooted in Christ’s work, The Chapel:


The Addition – Timeline Overview


In fall of 2013, Arkos Design was contacted to provide schematic design layout of the proposed Christian Education wing addition and a renovation including adult classrooms and nine offices.  Arkos Design also provided elevations for the proposed facility.  After a budget was developed, The Chapel proceeded with fundraising for the new building, including an allowance for A/V, and complete fire sprinkling.  Also included was furniture and equipment for the new addition as well as security and sound panels for the classrooms and gathering area.


In late spring 2014, Arkos Design received permission to move ahead with the design of the addition and renovation.  The biggest challenge was completing the project on a tight schedule and prior to Michigan’s hard winters.  The key to success of the schedule was communication with The Chapel building committee.



Following completion of the construction documents, both general contractors and prime subcontractors were invited to bid.  The list of bidders was developed by Arkos Design and included those who had worked on the 2005 worship addition.  The Arkos Design integrated services team received bids from contractors on September 17, 2014 and, together with The Chapel, selected contractors who met Arkos Design’s strict criteria for high quality and dedicated service.


On the morning of Saturday, September 20th, Dennis Weaver from Arkos Design met with the Elders and building committee to review the bids and budget summary.  Bids came in lower than the approved budget set by the congregation, so the Elders and building committee agreed to contract for the seven alternates.  The congregation voted on the 21st to move forward.  The Groundbreaking Dedication was held on September 28th, and site construction began on the 29th.


Due to the fact the project started during the fall season, the construction schedule dictated that the building would be enclosed by January.  With the winter’s late arrival, it was a nice surprise to have the roof completed just before the snow fell.  As the building was enclosed and insulation added, the building began to warm up.  Renovations were able to proceed in the existing building with adult classrooms and offices.   


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In January, Arkos Design and The Chapel leadership team realized they were ahead of schedule and revised the timeline for completion for completion at the end of June rather than in the fall.  The church received early occupancy for use of the adult classrooms in mid-June.  Vacation Bible School was able to be held in the new building, and August 2nd was the dedication!



The overall success of Arkos Design and The Chapel was team cohesiveness from the beginning.  Jim Spicer served as The Chapel’s representative, and Dennis Weaver served as Arkos Design’s representative.  Both teams worked together through the entire construction process.  Money was saved through the detailed bidding process, allowing The Chapel to spend it on alternates.  The Chapel held the contracts and they were managed by Arkos Design, which minimized risk of a contractor failure.  Jim Spicer and Dennis Weaver played dual roles and worked together on a daily basis for the success of the project and completion ahead of schedule.


The Chapel elders, ministry team, building committee, and congregation were all involved in carrying out the vision that emerged from their initial conversation back in 1977.  And today, The Chapel, an Evangelical Free Church, is 60,000 square feet on 10.2 acres at 4250 Washington Road, St. Joseph, Michigan.  The Church leadership continues to plan for the future.


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By: Dennis Weaver


Arkos Design, Inc.


Integrated Services

November 2015






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