McGill Associates Provides Engineering Services for the Sacred Garden at the First Baptist Church of Asheville

First Baptist Church of Asheville, Sacred Garden

After receiving input by the congregation on ways to enrich members’ worship experience, it was decided that the First Baptist Church of Asheville desired a place on campus that evoked a sense of serenity and celebration; a Sacred Garden. With the installation of a Sacred Garden committee, McGill Associates was retained by the Church to assist with stormwater, sewer and water, in the transformation of an existing parking lot into a beautiful Sacred Garden.

The Sacred Garden consists of a columbarium,(system for interring ashes, a small stage for a weddings, prayer labyrinth made of hand hewn stone, a chimes tower, waterfalls and contemplative areas for visitors. The civil aspects of the design included sewer line relocation, disconnecting and reconnecting domestic water, stormwater capture and management, and grading to encompass elaborate hardscape and landscape features.

During the project’s tenure, the McGill Associates’ civil design team was faced with several challenges, one of which included the removal of large walls near the sanctuary in order to reduce costs while still enhancing security and a sense of connection to the main building. Another obstacle that the team efficiently hurdled was strategizing creative solutions for rainwater collection and stormwater control in an unobtrusive manner. The team had to address significant volume and incorporate a rain water capturing system, all the while keeping it out of the public’s eye.

The client was adamant about keeping the project within a tight budget, nonetheless evoke sensitivity toward the designated area, for it would be the future home for funerals, weddings, and other sacred occasions. Overall, security was paramount in the design process, which is reflected in a deliberate yet non-threatening approach to the space.

The project took approximately two years to complete and is regarded as one of the most beautiful spaces the Church has.


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