Breaking barren ground for new church
A drizzly day April 10 didn’t dampen the spirits as Life Church of Reno broke ground on the first phase of a new building on 10 acres next to Damonte Ranch High School. The congregation gathered on the empty lot were joined by representatives of United Construction, contractor for the project, and others who helped the project through the planning process.
Phase one will consist of a 22,000-square-foot Child Development Center. Scott Rhoda, the church administrator, said the building should be completed in seven to nine months.
“We’re hoping to move in as fast as we can,” he said.
The building will also house a Christian daycare facility during the week.
“We don’t want to spend the Lord’s money and not fully utilize the building,” Rhoda said during a phone interview earlier this month.
Additional phases of the church campus will be built out as funding is available. The second phase will consist of a gymnasium and worship center that will seat about 1,200 people, plus offices.
Adult church services will continue to be held at Damonte Ranch High School until completion of the worship center.
The church campus was designed by Angela Bigotti of Van Woert Bigotti Architects of Reno. The architectural firm also designed St. Teresa of Avila in Carson City and Holy Cross Catholic Community in Sparks.
“She really took the vision the elders had and turned it into an amazing campus,” Randy York, the church elder who championed the project, told those gathered for the ground breaking.
The church has had the property for six to seven years, Rhoda said, which it purchased as four individual lots.
When Damonte Ranch was an actual ranch owned by the Damonte family, the parcel had remained bare due to a high alkaline content.
A team lead by Pastor Dave Pretlove started Life Church in February 2006. The church also celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Since the beginning, the church has rented space from high schools for its Sunday services, fist at Galena High School and the past seven to eight years at Damonte Ranch.
The church offices are in an industrial building on Double Diamond Parkway.
Rhoda said having access to the high school for Sunday services “has been a great provision. We’re thankful for the high school.”
But space is limited. About 900 people regularly attend on Sundays, requiring three services that meet in the high school’s theater. Sunday school and nursery care occupy other areas in the building and the school lobby is filled with food and coffee tables plus information stations.
“We’re running up against capacity issues,” Rhoda said.
Plus the logistics of moving in and out of the high school every week is substantial.
Three large trailers full of supplies must be unloaded and then reloaded each week. It takes about 100 volunteers on Sundays to set up as well as staff departments during the services.
Rhoda also said the south area of Reno is underserved by churches.
“We certainly believe it’s God’s will to build this building. But it’s just a building. Our goal is to represent and share the gospel,” he said.
“It’s been a nine-year journey. We’re thankful for God’s provisions.”
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.