Archive for May, 2016

New construction at John’s Creek Presbyterian provides much needed space


CDH was asked by Johns Creek Presbyterian leaders to design a new multi-purpose facility, which will be called the Great Hall. It will serve members and the community, while addressing a number of opportunities and challenges within the growing Johns Creek area. Building features include: an atrium-type lobby, gathering spaces, a visitor’s greeting area, and a warming kitchen.

The 11,000 square foot facility has a large stage for contemporary worship and performances along with the latest audio, video, and theatrical technology.  The large gathering atrium space was designed for good flow and easy way finding. It’s scheduled to be completed by August 2016.


The Great Hall includes a large, “scalable” kitchen designed to support a variety food service needs through plug-in equipment options and flexible (and portable) serving configurations. The contemporary design includes a “coffee house” area for serving light meals and refreshments as well as configurable areas that can be used for small group discussions, games, and group projects.


Sheet rock is going up! The “Great Hall” provides the much needed extra space for Johns Creek Presbyterian to have banquets, concerts, theater performances, and lite recreation within a state-of-the-art facility. The current chapel will be used for worship services and sacred events, but this new facility will serve as a “bridge” space and accommodate up to 400 for worship.


The next phase of construction will include a new sanctuary, a music center to support choirs and the church’s Academy of Fine Arts, as well as space for administrative offices, additional storage, classrooms for Adult Education and a counseling center.

CHOA Exceeds Fundraising Goal!



CDH Partners recently took part in helping to raise funds for the Kauffman Tire Spring Classic Baseball Game, which benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). The University of Georgia and the Georgia Tech have played in the classic since 2004. Thanks to the effort of everyone who participated in the 2016 fundraiser, CHOA raised an amazing $220,621.

Officials for the event said this year was the best with more money than ever being pledged to help some of the youngest and more critically in-need patients in Georgia. All proceeds from the event benefit the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Dave Winokur Development Officer/Sports Network for CHOA explains, “The annual Kauffman Tire Spring Classic for Kids is one of Children’s largest fundraising events featuring two of college baseball’s top programs and state rivals. More than 20,000 tickets are sold annually to this game at Turner Field making it one of the largest college baseball games each year.”

“It is all about the children,” says Paulla Shetterly, “and how we can help this extremely important healthcare organization continue to treat some of our most “in-need” patients in Georgia and the southeast.”

Winokur said, “Every dollar counts and over the 14 years these two schools have been participating more than $2 million has been raised to help our patients. Time commitment is minimal, but involvement will help innumerable kids being treated at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta!”


Why the Church and Consultant Relationship is Key to a Successful Facility

Editor’s note: This article recently appeared in the April/May 2016 of Worship Facilities and describes the importance of maintaining strong relationships during every phase of the planning process.

Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. Here is an in-depth look at one crucial finding — the importance of consultant selection.

Last year, Worship Facilities conducted a survey of church leaders who’d completed a construction project within the prior three years. One of the points we learned from their responses was how important it is to select a consultant (architect, design build firm, etc.), who’ll be a great fit.

One respondent stated they would do “better research and vet a design-build firm and insist on 3D computer modeling to check for plan fit.”

Another participant recommended churches, “select designers with a passion for the project and that will listen to the church. The lowest fee is not saving money in this case.”

When you embark on a new building or extensive remodeling project, you’ll spend a lot of time with the architectural and/or building firms you hire. This is the team of experts you’ll rely on to turn your vision into reality.

Since this relationship needs to be collaborative, we interviewed architects who’ve worked with churches to hear their perspective. We wanted to hear their recommendations for selecting a vendor and establishing a great relationship between church leadership and architect.

Here’s what we learned:

Tip #1: Look for a firm with experience working with church leaders

One church leader who responded to our survey recommended “Be patient and don’t rush into any one firm until you’ve been able to evaluate several contractors and visit sites they’ve completed and talk with staff to verify how their project went.”

David Strickland, Principal with CDH Partners recommends church leaders, “Select a good, experienced team who has worked with churches. If an architect or builder isn’t familiar with churches, you’ll have to spend time educating them on requirements and logistics that are specific to a church. If they have experience working with churches, it’ll make the project run much smoother and will establish a high level of confidence between groups (builder, architect and church).”
Please click here to continuing reading.

7 Trends in Church Design

By Paulla Shetterly and David Strickland

(This article recently appeared in the April 2016 issue of Religious Product News.)

When clothing doesn’t fit well, you know it. It is uncomfortable and just feels wrong.  When a family grows or shrinks as children move away from home, it becomes clear the house no longer suits the needs of only two people.

For churches, it can be more difficult to articulate just why the building no longer seems right. As a church struggles to fit new or growing ministries into old spaces, the problem is essentially the same. For clothing, a good tailor or new wardrobe can solve the problem. Relocating to a home better suited for the needs of a family will address their needs.  For the church, space problems can be solved through a comprehensive review of programmatic needs and facility assessment.


Some patterns have emerged for us in our experiences in working with churches over recent years. Many churches are feeling the discomfort of spaces that don’t work and fall short of serving their ministry goals. We are seeing repeatedly some of the same concerns and issues. This list isn’t exhaustive or in any particular order.

Nocatee Exterior

We have identified seven issues we believe are “trending” as churches seek to build, relocate, remodel, and address the needs of their changing congregations. Click here to continue reading.




Getting Ready to Lay the Foundation at Friendship!


Work is well underway at the construction site for historic Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta. This new location on Walnut Street is adjacent to Morris Brown College and about four blocks from the church’s original location.


CDH Partners Project Manager Carine Kroko and firm Principal David Strickland were on site for a meeting and site tour with the Van Winkle construction team.


The site will take shape quickly once the drainage is in. Plans call for this new campus to be completed in the spring of 2017.

CDH: Giving back to the community.


How much is a life worth? For those at Wellspring Living, an organization that serves survivors of sexual exploitation, the value is innumerable. This is one of the reasons CDH Partners decided to offer design services for the renovation and facelift of a Wellspring’s new upscale thrift store in Marietta. This store and others like it provide financial help for girls, who were caught up in sex trafficking.

Leaders for Wellspring say their mission is very straight forward: help as many victims as possible to develop the courage to move forward to a point where they realize their full potential and create a plan to fulfill their dreams for the future.

Girls come to Wellspring with emotional, mental, and physical brokenness etched throughout their lives. Their self-esteem is shattered and in many cases they don’t believe there is a future or any hope. Wellspring offers both of these and much more. This is the second reason the Marietta design firm was attracted to Wellspring. There was an opportunity to step in and give what they could so girls from all ages could live fully and freely.


One example of a fresh start at life is Ashley, who is 17-years old and whose story is briefly outlined on the flyleaf of one of the organization’s brochures. “My mom never understood,” she said. “So I left . . . . As I stood at the bus stop crying, a guy walked up to me and asked what was wrong.

“I thought, Finally! Someone cares!” Ashley quickly discovered just how wrong that thought was! She was taken to a place to live with a man she evidently called “Daddy.” He locked her and five other girls in a closet and each night they emerged and were forced to meet their quota of $2,000.

“Man after man after man came in,” said Ashley. Weeks later, she was arrested and ended up in a detention center. Shortly after that, she was given the opportunity to go to Wellspring Living. “They looked at me differently there. Even when I was at my worst, they pointed out my strengths. They cared.”


Wellspring Living is an Atlanta-based, non-profit organization that rescues girls from the sex trafficking industry. CDH architect, Andrew Savage was introduced to the organization through volunteer work at his church. “A few years ago, the people at Wellspring learned that by operating higher-end thrift stores, they could use the proceeds to make a bigger impact and help more girls.

“When I heard they needed architectural services for a new store in Marietta, I presented the need to the leadership at CDH Partners, and they were eager to help. We developed a tenant ‘build-out’ plan so Wellspring Living could obtain the needed permits for their new Marietta store.”

With the combined efforts of many volunteers and local churches the store opened and has been a great success. “I’m honored,” says Andrew, “to have played a small part in the great work that Wellspring Living is doing. It is a way for us to give back to the community but in a far greater way, it gives us an opportunity to help these girls have a new start in life.”