First Baptist Church of Orange held the formal groundbreaking on Sunday, Nov. 20. The church’s new facilities to be constructed on it property along Martin Luther King Drive in Orange.

This modern 32,000 square foot building is designed to be more than a place of worship, but a community center as well. The church wants the building to be a resource for members and non-members. It will house a full size gymnasium for sports and games, an indoor playground for children and preschoolers that can also be rented for birthday parties and other functions, and an indoor/outdoor café where folks of all ages can gather for coffee, light snacks, and connect with others.

It will also be a place for worship, Christian education, community ministry, and recreation. “We want this facility to be a place where people want to hang out,” says Pastor Barry Bradley. “When our church first bought this tract of land in 2003, a friend of mine challenged me when he said, ‘Look at this land and ask, What can we do with this property that no one else in Orange is doing?’ This building was designed as a tool for our church and a gift for the community.”

Actual construction is scheduled to begin in January 2012 and the $4.2 million dollar facility should be completed in 12-14 months. Pastor Bradley said, “After Hurricane Ike’s floods devastated this area and our downtown facilities in 2008, our church made a bold commitment—to be in this new facility in three to five years. If all goes well, that is, according to God’s blessings, we should be in the building with a year to spare.”

Until the building is finished, First Baptist Church will continue to worship, learn, and care for others at its downtown location at 602 West Green Avenue. The community is invited join their worship services on Sundays at 8:30 and 11 a.m., and for Bible study in their Connection Groups at 9:45 a.m.

The church has approved N&T Construction of Beaumont as the builder . It was designed by Harvestime Church Development of Colorado Springs, Colo.. Community Bank of Texas is providing the financing for the building’s construction.