The Atrium at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus will feel a little smaller when people can regather once again.

“The intent was to close the room, make it comfier and make it less spacious,” said Jeff Conatser, the construction manager for Southeast. “It had a concourse feel before, and we wanted to make it more like a gathering space.”

The Atrium underwent renovations that wrapped up in March.

>The “cloud” was mounted in the ceiling. It is a structure that holds 30 pendant lights, which can turn into any color of the rainbow.

“By bringing the cloud down and putting all of the lights on the bottom of it, you enclosed a lot of ceiling,” Conatser said. “This added a whole new element to it.”

>Vinyl flooring was put in throughout the Atrium and in Café 920. A small carpet inset is centered under the cloud.

>The Connection Center was moved to the north side of the Atrium.

Now that everything is finished, Conatser said he is a little disappointed people haven’t been able to see it.

“It’s disappointing because you’ve put in a lot of hours with a self-imposed deadline,” Conatser added. “I like to get on a roll, get it to the end, crush a deadline and then watch everybody come in and enjoy it.”

The Shine Suite

The Shine Disabilities Ministry Suite was a big part of the renovation.

Shine Ministry Leader Mary Tatum said she, Shine Associate Garett Wall and administrative assistant Shelley Roach feel like kids on Christmas morning with the new space.

“Every week or so we’ll get a call from Eric (Isaacson) over in purchasing, and he’ll say, ‘Oh, your chairs arrived or your swing arrived,’ or different things,” Tatum said. “It’s given us a lot of joy through this quarantine time to look at it, how it’s going to be used and picturing some of our students in there. We’re just anxious to share it with people.”

The entrance to the Shine Suite is on the second floor in the Atrium near the escalator. The suite was converted from two classrooms and a data room. This project has been in the works for the past two years.

“The space will allow for more connectedness, where anyone can belong,” Tatum added. “Having a place that is open enough that people can build community is very important. These are going to be families that have similar milestones and history, so they can connect on a different level because they’re living a similar life and can relate with each other.”

Tatum’s favorite feature of the Shine Suite is the indoor play structure, where kids will be able to climb, slide, swing and interact.

The Shine Ministry will be inviting SE!Kids and student ministry volunteers to lead worship for them.

“We don’t want this to be a place that isolates,” she said. “We want it to be a place that encourages connection and peer interaction, so we’re building in ways for that.”