The Christian Life Center in Dayton, Ohio needed a new worship facility.

About a decade ago, the church began the move towards “one church in several locations,” adding three additional locations with a goal of having a worship facility no more than 20 minutes away from the half million people living in the Miami Valley.

By 2013 it was clear that the main campus also needed to expand, with a new worship facility that could “offer dynamic worship services in a non-traditional environment.” Plans were drawn up for a 40,000-sq.-ft. facility with ample foyers and an amphitheater-style worship space with seating for about 1,000. Construction got underway in August of 2014.

The new sanctuary would replace the existing structure, so a complete tear-down was required. But not all the buildings onsite were coming down; new construction needed to tie into an adjacent CMU structure housing classrooms, offices, and recreation space.

The developer, architect, and owner wanted to “build green,” but budget and speed of construction took priority. Wanting to avoid long-term debt, they needed to keep the cost under $5 million and ensure the project could be built in less than a year. Fortunately, ICFs allowed the owners to meet all three considerations. David Morris, the Fox Blocks regional manager for the area, says, “ICFs allowed them to gain the speed of construction they needed, while working within a very tight budget and still reducing baseline energy consumption.”


The designer carefully oriented the building on the site, facing the main entrance to the north to take advantage of natural light that could pour through the glass curtain wall and tinted storefront glazing. Morris reports that the HVAC system was right-sized for ICF and economizers were placed on rooftops. “The developer incorporated LEED standards into the design, and monthly heating and cooling costs are expected to be 30% to 40% lower than equivalent sized sanctuaries in the Midwest,” he says.

With the design in place, the project went to bid, and HiFive Development, based in nearby Mason, won the job. They already had extensive experience with ICF, but the scale and compressed schedule of the project was larger than local installer could handle. Two installation subcontractors—HVB Inc. of Wisconsin and Gravesco Inc. in Kentucky—teamed up for the project. They installed approximately 10,000 to 12,000 sq. ft. of forming per week. The project used a total of 34,000 sq. ft. of forms.

The installation was not simple. Morris, at Fox Blocks, says, “There is a very impressive mix of tall wall ICF, steel, and glazing.” The entire front elevation consists of radius ICF walls topping out at 25 feet. Interior sanctuary walls were also curved and topped 35 feet without intervening floors, as did several exterior walls.

Morris says the many ICF radius walls helped the developer/owner achieve superior acoustics within the structure.

He continues, “During the entire build, ICFs were on display for thousands of people to see as they traveled on the I-70 expressway. We have fielded many calls from customers involved in residential and commercial building projects as a result of this, and new ICF construction projects have been secured for 2016 because of this job.”

The ICF installation was not the only difficulty. A stream runs under the property, and a stormwater management system was needed to protect it from construction runoff.

HiFive’s project manager Jim Dean reports “Navigating the do’s and don’ts of a 1,000-foot section of stream protected by the EPA was certainly a challenge.”

The exterior finish is a combination of brushed aluminum panels and tinted glass.

The CLC Sanctuary was completed on-time and on-budget, with the first service being held in the summer of 2015.

Morris says, “ICFs delivered value to the owner through speed of construction, energy efficiency, and superior acoustics. Because of the rapid pace of ICF construction, a month of construction time was saved.”

He continues, “Church communities in Ohio aren’t very familiar with the ICF. The CLC Sanctuary is a beautiful project which showcases the superior value and performance ICFs provide. This project is sure to create additional church projects in the region.”


Project Statistics

Location: Dayton, Ohio
Type: Worship Facility
Size: 40,000 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 34,000 sq. ft.
Cost: $5 million
Total Construction: 11 months
ICF Installation time: 21 days


Construction Team

Owner: Christian Life Center
General Contractor + Architect: HiFive Developing
ICF Installer: Gravesco & Hidden Valley Builders
Form Distributor: Fox Blocks Direct
ICF System: Fox Blocks


Fast Facts

Multiple curved tall walls to 34 feet.
Long spans, unique finishes
Seen by thousands
Completed on time and within tight budget


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