FORT COLLINS – Lakewood-based Pinkard Construction Co. has completed the external structure for the $6.5 million, 16,000-square-foot expansion and remodel of Foothills Unitarian Church at 1815 Yorktown Ave. in Fort Collins.
A topping-out ceremony was held this week at the site, with representatives from Pinkard, Ewers Architecture PC, and members of the congregation and local government in attendance.
“Pinkard is a community-driven organization, so working with clients who are such a vital part of the community is important for us,” said Tony Burke, president of Pinkard Construction, in a prepared statement.
Burke said Pinkard’s preconstruction team was vital in the project’s progress, despite unprecedented complications because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am proud our team could work together to get a budget and design to make this project feasible and fulfill the church’s vision,” he said.
Golden-based Ewers Architecture completed the schematic design in the summer of 2019. After a COVID-related project hold, the design resumed in 2021 with value engineering and savings measures to reduce the budget from the initial $9 million plan. Construction documents and fundraising were completed in line with the new budget, and the project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.
“The expansion results from years of visioning, planning, and the tremendous generosity of the congregation,” said Peg McMorris, a member of the church’s building expansion team. “It will allow us to be an even greater resource to our wider Northern Colorado community, especially to our partners, the BIPOC Alliance, Homeward Alliance, and the Food Bank for Larimer County.
“We are grateful Ewers and Pinkard were able to collaborate with us in reworking our design and budget to ensure the new space facility meets the needs of our nearly 600-person congregation and aligns with our vision for a growing future,” she said.
The phased project consists of 13,200 square feet of additional space and 2,900 square feet of remodeled space. It includes a new 390-seat worship center, additional gathering spaces, classrooms, and office space to enable the church to better serve its 120-year-old progressive faith community in Fort Collins.
The seeds for Foothills were planted in 1886, when the Rev. Anna Jane Norris rode between Longmont and Fort Collins to promote the establishment of Unitarian societies. Unity Church was founded in Fort Collins in 1898 and moved into its first established home, a domed, stone structure on the southwest corner of College Avenue and Mulberry Street, in 1904. Unity Church merged in 1931 with First Congregational Church to form the Congregational Unitarian Church, with 140 total members. In 1968, the congregation voted to end its affiliation with the Congregational Church and join the newly formed, Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Association, and two years later moved onto its current property, which backs onto the north side of Drake Road halfway between Shields Avenue and Taft Hill Road.
Editor’s note: BizWest reporter Dallas Heltzell has been a member of Foothills Unitarian Church since 2011.