St. James Presbyterian Church

Detail History of New Sanctuary Construction

Actual construction of the new sanctuary took nine months. Building codes required an excavation of nine feet and re-compacting with clean fill. The foundation is wide spread footings and the exterior walls are double 2X6 studs with solid sheathing and reinforced with steel. The double walls are structural as well as providing acoustical deadening from the street. The exterior is colored stucco and the interior is gypsum board with slate wainscoting. The trim and doors are stained oak. The roof is a combination of steel and wood trusses with beams covered with solid sheathing. The roofing material is standing seam aluminum. The chancel floor is slate. Floors elsewhere are carpet with vinyl under the pews. Lighting is from chandeliers, recessed lights and individually controlled theater spotlights for the chancel. The stained glass windows were saved from the old church. They were undamaged and were reconfigured for the new sanctuary. The cross in the tower is surrounded by stained glass. The figure of Francis Makemie is depicted in glass on the south wall over the exit.

The sanctuary ceiling rises to a height of 26 feet, while a lighted tower rises to a height of 55 feet. The stained glass windows were salvaged from the old sanctuary, refurbished and installed in the tower and east wall of the sanctuary. The grand piano was also rescued from the old sanctuary and restored. A new electronic organ was purchased and installed. A computerized lighting control system was also installed. The chancel has a movable lecturn that allows the chancel area to be used for musical or drama presentations. The communion table, baptismal fountain, choir space, organ and piano complete the chancel area. Seating in the sanctuary is for 360 persons. The pews are padded and trimmed in oak stained to a deep cherry hew. A glass fronted sound-proof cry room has been provided to accommodate persons with small children. Additional seating can be arranged in the front and in the narthex. The sound system console is at the rear of the sanctuary and controls the sound in the sanctuary, narthex, choir room, cry room and fellowship hall as well as recording equipment and video hook up for fellowship hall.

The office area has a pastor's office, associate pastor’s office, administrator’s office, reception area, work room, choir room and rest room facilities. The rest rooms serve the sanctuary and also accommodate the disabled and provide changing tables for infants. The entire structure occupies an area of 9000 square feet with the sanctuary having an area of 6000 square feet.

A palm lined walkway from the rear parking area leads to the patio located on the south side of the sanctuary. It was designed to accommodate informal outdoor services with sound from the sanctuary as well as providing a place to meditate or to enjoy fellowship and coffee after a service. It is flanked by tile and slate and has an ornamental fountain. The stainless steel cross salvaged from the tower of the old sanctuary is on the west side of the patio.

Architect: Dominy + Associates, San Diego

Contractor: Charles Licha, Encino
Landscape Architect: EPT, Pasadena
Construction Coordinator, Elder Paul Carlson
Architectural & Landscape Coordinator, Elder Bob Tyler