BY BROOKE BOUCEK
Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Edgewood will at last open its Edgar M. Arendall Children’s Educational Building on Sunday, March 4.
“The new building will allow us to better minister to smaller children and their parents while continuing to provide a secure, safe environment,” Senior Pastor Dr. Gary Fenton said.
The three-floor, 45,000-square-foot building has been under construction since groundbreaking last February. It will house students from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade.
Classrooms for preschool children ages four and five will be located on the lower level. The entry-level floor will include a Welcome Center, access to the Sanctuary and classrooms for preschoolers, ages birth through 3 years old.
Grades 1-4 have designated space on the second floor. Classrooms and gathering areas with new technology on the third floor will be used for the middle and high school student ministry.
“The building really gives us an optimal opportunity to minister to the community,” said Minister of Christian Education Jan Jones.
Over the last four years the number of young families at the church has increased. Dr. Fenton said that the church has estimated about 70 births from members each year. The new classrooms with preschool worship room and toddlers’ playroom will provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children.
“The infant area has been very crowded, and I am excited for the children and staff to be able to spread out with their equipment in the new space,” said Preschool Minister Brooke Gibson.
This new space will reach out to all children in the community that participate in Dawson’s programs. Typically half of the children who participate in KidLife, the Vacation Bible School at Dawson, are non-members. Many non-members also participate in the family recreation and the music academy at the church.
“This (space) will give us a better place to continue our ministry with its emphasis on priority of children in a child-friendly and secure environment,” Dr. Fenton said.
The same day of the building’s opening, the church will also open Kids Connection. This program will supply basic needs for children from birth to age 16 referred by a social agency. This new center will be located on Green Springs between the Salvation Army and Pizza Hut, 32 Green Springs Highway.
“The people of Homewood both in and outside our church value education, training and children in general,” Dr. Fenton said. “We’re excited to share this new space with them.”