ARLINGTON – Arlington Assembly opened the doors to its newly expanded Kids and Teens Center Sunday, putting a safe place to spend time within reach of more youth and families.
Dozens of parishioners and community members attended a dedication and toured the $800,000 renovation of the oldest side of the church building built in 29162 at 201 N. Stillaguamish Ave.
Lead Pastor Ryan Kramer called the six-month project The Reach Initiative, to “reflect the church’s desire to reach the next generation before we have to rescue them.”
That idea resonated with Mayor Barb Tolbert, who joined the pastor, wife Andrea and other church leaders in the ribbon-cutting.
“Ryan and Andrea have such a great heart for the community,” Tolbert said. Their focus on ministering to young people and having a safe place to go is commendable, “and they have provided a wonderful place for that.”
Arlington Assembly has experienced explosive growth over the last three years, with attendance increasing by over 200% due largely in part to their focus on kids, teens and the community, Kramer said.
“With this growth came the need to expand our current space for kids and teenagers,” he said.
Church members voted in February to invest in the renovation.
“It was a way to renovate our kids and teens space to provide the absolute best environment for them,” Kramer said.
The 5000 square feet on the first floor is dedicated to children from birth to 5th grade. It is divided into three areas: a nursery for children up to 3 years old, an area for preschooler ages 3-5, and an elementary section for Kindergarten-5th graders.
The kids space features murals, infant swings, an arts and crafts area, rock wall, canoes with built-in gaming stations and room for basketball and carpet ball.
Kramer said the church has a modern Pacific Northwest theme for the kids area.
“Instead of using darker earth tone colors, we chose light and bright colors with a lot of storefront glass to help the kids navigate the darker winter months,” he said. “We added some state-of-the-art security measures to ensure a fun, but safe environment for kids.”
The 3300 square feet on the second floor is dedicated to teenagers.
“It has a much more open concept than before and it includes a café,” said Kramer, along with phone charging, an enhanced sound system and lighting, games and murals.
One of Kramer’s favorite elements is the new cross along Stillaguamish. Church members salvaged the old interior wood of different types from the 1963 portion of the building and reused it to create a 20-foot tall cross.