? Church associated with the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma

By Melissa A. Wabnitz

Transcript Staff Writer

NorthHaven members unanimously voted to proceed with the church's plans to build a $2.5 million building starting as early as November in northwest Norman. The church has met at the First Presbyterian Church in Norman since its founding in 2003 and now, after nearly two years of waiting, they will finally have a home of their own. Ten acres of land at 4600 NW 36th St. was previously donated and the proposed building, planned by William Kaighn -- Associates architecture firm, will be approximately 15,869 square feet in size.

"We didn't know about unanimously, that was a little bit of a surprise element, but we really felt it was a strong feeling among the people that we needed to have a place of our own," said interim pastor Lavonn Brown of Sunday's declaratory vote. "Meeting in someone else's facility, as gracious as they are, isn't the same as having a home of our own."

Church leaders intend to break ground in October to begin the first phase of building in November. The church is planned to open approximately one year after construction begins, Brown said.

"The first phase will be an educational building and fellowship hall which will double as a sanctuary until the second phase will be built, which will be the sanctuary," said Manning Close, church and building committee member.

"This is going to be a multi-purpose type building so that the place where we meet for worship will have removable chairs and we can also use it for fellowship and for meals," explained Brown.

"We can set up tables and chairs in the same room, so we'll get multi uses out of it, but it's also going to have what we call a community room, self-contained with its own bathroom and kitchen facilities and we're thinking in terms of an outside access without access to the rest of the building."

The building will also be accessible to outside community groups that might need a meeting space when church is not in session, Brown said.

NorthHaven is a member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma and currently has about 110 members.

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