Franklin Road Academy Chapel Renovation
Completed Summer 2018
Franklin Road Academy
EMC Structural Engineers
The FRA Chapel project originated with the goal of renovating and revitalizing the acquired sanctuary facility into a school chapel and gathering/performance space. The sanctuary building had been partially damaged by water in the basement level and suffered from years of disuse. The Workshop was initially tasked update the facility to its revised use, to address outstanding life safety and update MEP requirements. Through an extensive codes analysis and coordination with the State of Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office, the Chapel building was required to be retrofitted with a new sprinkler system and the means of egress patterns had to be reassessed to address the updated use. As part of the renovation, new toilet facilities were provided to serve the Chapel and adjacent office spaces, while the mechanical system was completely overhauled to provide better indoor comfort and air quality to the entire building. New LED light fixtures were provided for the entire space, in conjunction with a state-of-the-art integrated audiovisual system with DMX-controlled lighting that can provide nearly limitless options for stage lighting and production.
The Workshop also coordinated the interior renovation with a consulting interior design firm selected by the owner. The interior scope of the project involved redesigning the Chapel ceiling, as well as coordinating the furniture and finishes package. The building received new flooring, including carpet tile and LVT hard surfaces, new paint, and acoustic treatment where necessary. Ultimately, the Workshop coordinated the procurement of new pew seating, which was found to be a cost-effective option versus restoring the Chapel’s original pews. Some of the existing pews were repurposed as seating in the Chapel’s lobby/pre-function area.
The most significant addition to the exterior of the building as part of the transition from church sanctuary to school chapel is a new bell tower, which replaces the original church steeple that had been previously removed. The new bell tower blends traditional religious symbolism with a contemporary design that complements other bell towers across FRA’s campus. The lighting design and sound program for the bell tower are also controlled by the DMX audiovisual panel located inside at the balcony level. As part of the renovation of the facility, new windows and exterior railings were also provided. The project was highlighted by new landscaping to enhance the building’s presence in the south campus quad.