About Benson Baptist Church
The church was first known as Bethany Baptist and was organized in the Rising Sun School – also called Dog Eye School – about 2 miles north of present day downtown Benson on January 24, 1887, with five charter members. Benson Baptist Church and the Town of Benson are the same age.
Prior to enhancements at Benson Baptist Church, conducted by Accu-Steel, several shortcomings existed with regard to accessibility and capacity within the historic place of worship. The church community was in want of an expanded parking facility, weather protected wheelchair access, elevator service for multiple floors, and enlarged fellowship space for a growing church community. The original church and a previous addition were both well suited to the needs of the historic community, but contemporary standards and a hopeful projection for growth created conditions of service inadequacy for which Accu-Steel was well prepared to propose solutions.
In order to ease building access the good people at Accu-Steel introduced a large parking surface to work in concert with a porte-cochere threshold for weather protected wheel chair access. Immediately inside the threshold waits a foyer creating an indoor/outdoor staging area that promotes field trip operations and extends a warm invitation to the visiting public. Not to forget historical qualities inherent to the original building, Accu-Steel maintained the original entryway encouraging local pedestrian walk-up access. In essence, Benson Baptist Church has been wrapped with accessible entry, and has increased its ability to attract more distant worshippers from the neighboring towns of Smithfield and Selma, Lillington, Four Oaks, Newton Grove and Dunn. Benson is convenient on the corner of NC State HWY 301 and has a fast approach to I-95. The potential population contribution from neighboring towns exceeds 35800 souls. Drawing even one percent of those folks to Benson Baptist Church would bring 358 to worship.
A challenge faced the design team at Accu-Steel; that was presenting as much building program as possible to the Benson Baptist community without detracting from the original historic structure, while enhancing the site with a respectable addition in its own right. The challenge called for inclusion of an elevator and high capacity emergency egress, quite large fellowship volume, comparatively large storage capacity, high capacity kitchen and bathroom utility. The design contribution folded egress and elevator into an interior corner of the site; an area hidden from most viewing angles. This design decision permitted the employ of fewer architectural details than a prominent position would have liked. A durable metal roof, while increasing initial construction cost, will lower the maintenance cost over time without having to be replaced as frequently as shingles. Another point of ingenuity rests with the employ of a large fire-resistant separation hidden within the building program. Such a barrier to smoke and fire permits separated new construction to meet less taxing material requirements, lowering construction cost. These are some examples of how Accu-Steel approaches the design challenges that are part and parcel to every building or remodeling project.
In conclusion, Benson’s Baptist Church has been recast in the role of prominent public meeting place while growing as a house of worship. It is well suited to remain at the forefront of these stations for years to come. Accu-Steel was thrilled to offer its commercial engineering and contracting and church architecture skills to bring this project together.