Carson City’s First Presbyterian Church getting covered sidewalk |

Carson City’s First Presbyterian Church getting covered sidewalk

Renderings of the new sidewalk planned for the First Presbyterian Church.
Berger Hannifan Architecture LLP |

Carson City’s historic First Presbyterian Church is getting a new addition.

This time it’s outdoors: a covered sidewalk running 100 by 7 feet along the east side of the church’s newer sanctuary.

The impetus was a report from the church’s insurance company that the existing sidewalk posed safety risks due to ice and other issues, said Keith MacDonald, an elder in the church and a member of its building and grounds committee.

But the project soon turned into something more.

“We started with that basic fundamental need but it has evolved into an entry element to that side of building and now a focal point,” said Darrin Berger, principal partner, Berger Hannifan Architecture LLP, the architect on the project as well as a member of the church.

The focal point was created by necessity, too.

“The cross that is up there now is in our way. The roof encroached on it and we had a problem. So (in the design) we pulled the cross of the building and created a circular area,” said Berger. “It was the inspiration for the design. Serendipity.”

The cross is going back on, atop the roof of the circular portico, and will be lit.

The sidewalk design, too, is a bit of found luck.

Berger said they wanted to use Basalite pavers rather than solid concrete.

“That creates a lot of texture in what would otherwise be a mundane surface,” he said.

A design including a cross is in the sidewalk, created using pavers of varying colors.

The remaining sidewalk sections opened up a fundraising opportunity for the church.

“It evolved into members being able to purchase pavers and inscribe them,” said Berger.

Berger is working with Gary Gladwell, F & G Construction, on the project, which is about 40 percent through its design and permitting.

The estimated cost is about $85,000.

The church has about a third of that pledged, said MacDonald, and construction will start once half has been raised, probably next spring.

The addition only connects to the church’s later additions and not to the older sanctuary, dating back to the 1860s and paid for in part by the efforts of Mark Twain, was deemed unusable.

Berger met with city planning staff as well as a couple members of the Historical Resources Commission before submitting the plans to the commission.

That helped ease the way, said Berger, because they pointed out criteria required for lighting the cross that he incorporated into the design.

The plans went before the commission last week, which unanimously approved the project, although none of the new construction touches the older church building.

“The city has been absolutely fabulous at all levels,” said Berger.