First Baptist Church Jacksonville still awaits the $10 million in donations it needs to break ground, but it is taking a step toward a new satellite campus in Nocatee.
Judson Leverette, director of business administration for Downtown-based First Baptist, said leaders continue to work on architectural plans for First Baptist Church Nocatee.
Leverette said Nocatee was chosen for another campus because it is a growing community. The main campus remains Downtown.
“That’s where a lot of our young people are living right now and it makes it a whole lot easier for them to have a church in their community,” he said.
Leverette said some churchgoers don’t like to drive Downtown anymore. “They want something closer to home,” he said.
Nocatee is about 26 miles from Downtown, where First Baptist has its large main campus at 124 W. Ashley St.
Preliminary engineering plans are in city review for almost 22 acres of the Nocatee site, identified along Valley Ridge Road.
The site straddles the county line. The majority of the campus is in Duval County, with sports fields in St. Johns.
Plans show a church, playground and the sports fields. They also indicate a preschool day care. The proposed building footprint is 40,850 square feet, but that doesn’t include multiple stories.
Leverette said that was the extent of the plans for now. Connelly & Wicker Inc. is the civil engineer.
He declined to predict a start and completion date and said the project will be paid for by donations, not with debt.
First Baptist owns the land. In July 2013, it acquired almost 22 acres of Duval County property and 7.29 acres in St. Johns.
A Nocatee presence would accommodate the 500 members who now attend Sunday morning services at Ponte Vedra High School and others — existing and new.
First Baptist Church also has satellites in Ortega and at the University of North Florida, where a trailer is brought in for Sunday night worship.
He said membership exceeds 15,000 people.
Source: Jax Daily Record