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World of Wow renderings show the treehouse-themed play structure in front of the new stage. Courtesy rendering.
East County Wednesday, Apr. 5, 2017 9 months ago

Woodland builds new children's center

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Church climbs to new heights with The Treehouse.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Imagine a place where brown, cartoonish bears in baseball caps and backpacks peer at children playing in a treehouse while a waterfall cascades across a stage in the background.

In just a few months, the vision will become reality as Woodland Community Church transforms an old sanctuary into a dedicated children’s center, called The Treehouse. Construction starts April 10 on the project and is expected to be finished by July.

“I think having a designated space shows that group is important to us,” said Jennifer Passmore, director of the Woodland Early Childhood Center and Dunn Prep Academy and wife of lead pastor, the Rev. Tim Passmore. “It’s appealing for them, a place they want to be and share about Jesus.”

The lobby area, now a gathering spot for weeknight festivities or families awaiting classes in the Woodland Fine Arts Academy, will become a formal check-in area for the kids ministry with themed seating and other features.

Woodland Executive Pastor the Rev. Dewayne McFarlin walked from the lobby into the 4,500-square-foot sanctuary space and pointed to the back walls, which will be cut for windows so parents can see the children’s services. Against the wall to the right of the stage, contractors will build four classrooms below and a second level for two more rooms. On the left will be a gaming area, equipped with television monitors, Wii game system and other technologies.

The stage will be shortened to create a new two-level scene with a waterfall, trees and other backdrops. There will be kid-sized seating in front, rather than the adult-sized folding chairs that have been used in the past.

“Where I’m standing is going to be a big jungle gym,” McFarlin said of the area between the back wall and future seating. “It’s big, like a 12-by-18-foot base and 16 feet tall.”

Each week, Woodland welcomes about 1,100 children through its various programs, including the Early Childhood Center (day care and pre-kindergarten), Woodland Fine Arts Academy (dance and other classes), a weekly community play group and weekend church services.

Passmore said creating a designated children’s area will streamline operations and improve safety, particularly for weekend services.

Woodland uses the room for a variety of needs, including community meetings, a 9 a.m. Sunday worship service and meetings for youths and adults, among others. Between each event, staff and volunteers must reset the space with chairs or equipment. Children are shuffled from room to room and from first to second levels.

Having the designated space will ease the strain of resetting the room after each event and also set off a logistical chain reaction that will simplify operations.

The 9 a.m. service, for example, will be moved into larger sanctuary.

Community and other groups that use the space are being accommodated elsewhere on Woodland’s campus.

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