Immanuel Lutheran: Built on a Foundation of Faith
Excitement and anticipation to move into the new Immanuel Lutheran facility is evident on the administrators’ faces as they discuss the details of the new, state-of-the-art campus under construction at 300 Pathway Court in Crystal Lake. After nearly 140 years on McHenry Avenue in Crystal Lake — with many expansions along the way — the congregation has outgrown its current space, and even with ongoing maintenance, its facilities have become outdated. With plenty of foresight — and after careful planning — ground was broken in July 2007.
The school and ministry center are expected to open Sept. 8, 2009 and the sanctuary will be completed in two to three years.
“Our current facilities are not adequate to accommodate the worship, ministry, educational and outreach needs of future generations,” admitted Senior Pastor Larry Tieman, who began service at Immanuel in 2006. “Our desire as a church is to develop followers of Christ who will reach out to and serve the needs of this community.
“We also hope to establish a place through our new campus where the people of the community can come to be served and have their needs met.”
The larger facility, according to Communications Coordinator Shelly Davidson, will have the space to potentially double its worship attendance from 500 to 1,000.
The land the new campus is being built on was purchased with proceeds from the sale of the land Immanuel member Florence Bohl donated upon her death in 1994. “We purchased 60 acres behind Jewel/Hobby Lobby in Crystal Lake and that’s where the new campus is being built,” Davidson said.
Immanuel did also retain the part of the original land donation — known as Bohl Farm Marketplace — for its The Pointe Outreach Center (5650 Northwest Hwy.).
‘A Heart for Christian Education’
Immanuel Lutheran School is the first facility of the new campus to open its doors this fall. Today, it serves 140 K-8 students, as well as 50 preschoolers through its Little Ark program. Principal David Ingwersen expects enrollment to grow as the new space allows for greater capacity, but a small teacher-to- student ratio will remain a focus.
The school sets itself apart in a number of ways, beginning with its rich local history. “Immanuel has provided Christian education in the Crystal Lake community since 1870,” said Principal David Ingwersen, who joined the school in 2005. “The original school building — now a residence on College Avenue — was built prior to a worship facility. The founders of Immanuel had a heart for Christian education.”
Other ways the school differentiates itself is by offering full-day kindergarten, an online student management system, Bible-based Christian character development, Spanish class and interscholastic sports, he said.
A State-of-the-Art School
The new school will provide enhanced programs, more space and access to the latest technology to students, faculty and the community, according to Ingwersen, who visits the site regularly. He and the Immanuel Lutheran congregation find peace of mind in knowing that this project was designed and is overseen by architect Steve Wright, a partner at DLA Ltd. in Elgin, and local architect Dan Repholz of Repholz Studio, both of whom are also church members. When completed, the entire new facility will top out at 60,056 square feet, Wright said.
The school will boast 13 classrooms, including a science lab and prep room, an art room, a 2,053-square-foot library and a 1,055-square-foot state-of-the-art computer lab. “The building will be fully wired with technology drops distributed to all classrooms, allowing for Internet and network access for teachers and students alike,” Wright said. The Little Ark preschool, kindergarten, and first and second grade classrooms are designed larger than typical classrooms and incorporate age-appropriate washrooms into the classrooms allowing for supervision, he added.
“The school will also include a 1,173-square-foot music/choir room designed with acoustics in mind to serve not only the school’s music program, but support the multiple choirs and music programs offered by Immanuel Lutheran Church,” he said.
Additionally, the 6,887-square-foot gym will be large enough to be split into two separate practice areas using a ceiling suspended divider curtain. “The new gym features a regulation-sized basketball and volleyball court that is designed to Illinois High School Association standards, which will allow Immanuel to host high school teams from nearby schools,” Wright added.
The new space also includes a 3,560-square-foot commons and a fully equipped kitchen. “The commons is designed to not only accommodate the needs of the children for lunch, but has been specifically designed to serve as a temporary worship space while the new church is planned and constructed,” Wright said.
“The worship space includes a raised platform to be utilized during church services and student performances, and a state-of-the-art sound system and dimming system to accommodate the multiplicity of uses within the commons,” he added.
The building also features a dedicated multi-purpose room and youth room, which will be utilized in a variety of ways both during the school day and for church, Sunday School and community activities.
The new administration offices will combine both the school’s main office and church offices into one suite of offices. The new office area incorporates conference space, individual offices, building-wide computer network distribution, a teacher’s lounge and a nurse’s station.
Immanuel Lutheran realized a large, modern facility would not be complete without utilizing some of today’s energy- efficient techniques.
According to Wright, “the mechanical system and building envelope has been designed to meet strict energy codes dictating R-values for various building components such as walls, roofs and windows.
“The mechanical system also has been designed to utilize a computerized system allowing for dial-up adjustment to the system from outside the building,” he added. “Each space has been designed with individual thermostat control in classrooms and office spaces in order to maximize control over larger portions of the building.”
The electrical system, he noted, was designed with energy conservation in mind, incorporating motion sensors and time clocks throughout the facility to aid in monitoring energy use. “So if lights in an area of the building are turned on and no activity is sensed in that portion of the building after a prescribed amount of time, the system will switch the lights off to conserve energy,” he explained. “Additionally, energy efficient lighting fixtures have been specified throughout the school to maximize cost savings.”
Immanuel Lutheran is currently organizing a dedication ceremony set for September 20, followed by a grand fellowship event, according to Davidson. The future, she says, includes construction of a new sanctuary, which will connect to the new school and ministry center. “Sunday worship and education will be held on our new campus beginning in September,” she noted. “Saturday evening worship and other services of celebration will continue to be held on our historic McHenry Avenue campus.”
The Immanuel Lutheran of today is sure to pay respect to the generations that paved the way for its current growth and new home. “Generations of Lutherans have appreciated a place where they could grow in their faith in God and live that faith out in a culture which affirms their heritage and family values,” Tieman said.
Today, there are up to six-generation Immanuel members, he said, who can trace their roots to the church’s founders.
The congregation’s challenge, however, is to use its strengths, such as values, history and stability, to reach out. “Our challenge is to understand that the church is more than a building,” he said. “It’s the body of Christ and a fellowship of believers that the Lord wants to continue to expand for the purpose of connecting people to Jesus.
“The new, larger space will be more effective” in meeting these objectives, he added.
Immanuel serves the community on a number of levels, according to Davidson. “Locally, we have volunteers involved with the Bethesda Thrift Store, Crystal Lake Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, the Blessing Barn and Faith in Action,” she said. “Local outreach opportunities sponsored by Immanuel include UPWARD basketball for kids, Old Time Radio for seniors, Journey to Bethlehem (living nativity), Vacation Bible School and WE SERVE (which helps those in need in the community). “We also partner with Centegra Mobile Health and other churches in the area through the Loaves and Fishes Ministry, which serves food/cleaning supplies to about 300 families each month via the Northern Illinois Mobile Food Pantry,” she added.
“Regionally, we support the Uptown Ministry in Chicago (founded by retired Immanuel Pastor Tom Tews), as well as families in need each fall through the backpack drive and each Christmas through the Giving Tree. We are also active in the local/regional Prison Ministry.”
Immanuel’s national involvement includes mission trips to Rosebud Indian Reservation, the Gulf Coast and other areas in need.
Internationally, it is involved with Feed My Starving Children, Mission India, Compassion International and mission trips to other places of need.
Additionally, The Pointe Outreach Center is also open to non-profit organizations that need meeting/training facilities. “Simulcasts through our partnership with the Church Communication Network create endless possibilities for learning at The Pointe,” Davidson added.
>> For more, call 815-459-1441 or visit www.imcl.us.