The New Face of Hancock StreetPosted: March 6, 2012
Glenn Doak is the Senior Pastor at Athens First Presbyterian Church. He has been working hard with the church, Rosser International, and Smith Wilson on a huge renovation project for the church. Rosser International is an architectural firm out of Atlanta, GA that the church hired for the job. Smith Wilson is the contractor who was on the site every day overseeing the project,according to Doak. The renovation to the church, “Changed the face of Hancock Street,” Doak said. This project was a $10.4 million project, according to integralgude.com, and has met Doak’s needs. The church has also been involved with many other projects including a tutorial program with about 30 children from the immediate neighborhood that is held on Wednesday afternoons, a homeless program where they house homeless families in the church for a week, cooking meals for their “Daily Bread” program, and building houses with Habitat for Humanity.
The 10.4 million dollar renovation project that impacted Hancock Street played a big role in what the church has been trying to do to help the community. It has added more space and given the church a more inviting look, with the new glass, so people can see what is going on inside. “It says, we are open for business,” Doak said. It gave the church much more room to house homeless families, as well as giving it a more modern look, which much of downtown Athens does not have.
The master plan was underway back in 2005 and it has, “solved problems for the next 25-50 years,” Doak said. The renovation has made it possible to access the entire church from two floors. This project took up every last inch of Athens First Presbyterian’s property. The church preferred a more perpendicular look as opposed to the parallel look to the new buildings. They were pleased when the architect did this and Doak said, “They turned the building so it did not look like a fort anymore.” This new perpendicular building connected a new building into two old buildings, and created the “awe” room. It earned this nickname because of how impressed everyone who enters it is. The new look tells people that, “you don’t have to be invited in anymore,” Doak said. The new palladium windows have given the church its new, more inviting, look and they say, “there is something here,” Doak Said.
Doak is proud of the church’s renovations for many reasons. One of the big reasons is his belief in the importance of a strong faith community in the downtown area. The new look to the church has given an inviting place for people to come who have a problem and need help. It has, “Given the church a presence that says a lot about the downtown area,” Doak said, “Government, faith, and education go hand in glove together.”
The church’s homeless programs house homeless families from Sunday to Saturday every 12 weeks. The homeless program is part of a “rotation with other churches to work with the homeless,” Doak said. They are for “Families who have fallen through the cracks.” They are there to help them until they can recover and have a down payment or a few months rent to get back on their feet. The church provides showers and rooms that have space for beds for the families to stay in while they recover, and is all done with the help of volunteers in the Athens community.
Athens First Presbyterian’s help does not end with the Athens area though. They have, among other things, set up a medical clinic in Haiti, where they have been involved for the past 25 years. The church will send different doctors down every few weeks to help run the clinic. This has been a great help in the infant mortality rate in Haiti, according to Doak.
Athens First Presbyterian Church has been described as a “Beacon on the hill.” The church is located on a hill in downtown Athens. When you leave the church, no matter which direction you are heading, you are heading downhill. This renovation project has met the expectations, according to Doak, of the church and aided in the perception of the church and the good that it does. It has brightened the “Beacon on the Hill.”