Westlake church breaks ground on renewal effort

Pastor Tom Grevlos watches as children help break ground at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Jan. 28.

Pastor Tom Grevlos watches as children help break ground at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church Jan. 28.


Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, located at 3525 Bee Caves Road, West Lake Hills, broke ground on a long-planned $4 million renovation project Jan. 28, less than a month after variances for the project were approved by West Lake Hills City Council.


Pastor Tom Grevlos, who has been with the church for five years, said the project is the church’s first significant renovation effort in 20 years and will address a lot of different maintenance needs at the 40-year-old facility.


Church Director of Operations Bill Dawson said the renewal project will touch all areas of the church and help to support various community groups that utilize the space, such as the Butterfly Christian Preschool, which is located at the front of the property.


“This campus renewal is not just for the church but for the [entire] community we serve,” Grevlos said. “We want to be a church without walls, not an isolated church community, but one that reaches out to the broader Austin community and the world.”


Grevlos said he does not believe the church has ever had much of a street presence and hopes the improvements to landscaping will help attract more of the community to the location.


Construction could be complete by the end of the summer and the church’s worship service schedule is not expected to be impacted by the project, Grevlos said.


Safety improvements


While the overall number of parking spaces will remain the same, the church is planning to improve access to the parking lot, drainage and overall campus safety. Renovated entries will also meet modern fire standards, Grevlos said.


Technology Upgrades


A significant part of the project is the addition of new audio and video technologies that can record services, seminars and classes for online video and audio streaming or podcasts, Dawson said.


“It will facilitate the concept of being ‘a church without walls’ because we would be able to reach homebound people that are interested in the services and learning opportunities we offer but cannot attend,” he said. 


The sound system in the sanctuary room will also be updated and worship screens will be added for better viewing of services, Grevlos said.


Activity Center


Currently designed as a gymnasium with basketball hoops, tile walls and high ceilings, the activity center is used by basketball leagues, the preschool, for community meals and by church and community groups for meetings. The new activity center will include replaced tile on the outside wall with large windows for natural lighting and will have acoustics more suitable for group gatherings.


Courtyard changes


The courtyard is a natural area with ample trees, Grevlos said. The area is currently underutilized because the large playground takes up too much space, he said.


“We want it to be a gathering place that people in the community can actually come to, because there really isn’t a place like that in Westlake,” he said.


Sanctuary improvements 


The carpet floor will be removed, new lighting fixtures will be installed and interior windows will be added to the sanctuary room, Grevlos said.


“The basic footprint of [the sanctuary] will not change but it will feel significantly different because of the acoustic, because of the lighting and because the windows will just open it up,” he said.



MOST RECENT

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

Photo of medical professions in a hospital
Health officials warn ICU space is critically low as Travis County sees its 900th COVID-19 death

As the delta variant drives transmission rates up, local hospital systems warn that ICUs are strained.

At Blue Gecko, a Texas Taco comes with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and bacon. (Courtesy Blue Gecko)
New taco spot opens in Four Points; roadwork for Austin's Zilker Eagle continues and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area, including news on when Lou Neff Road will open in Central Austin.

Water retention ponds and flood control features can now be seen on the site of the 80-acre Village of Spanish Oaks development. (Courtesy CCNG Inc.)
Permanent features take shape at Village at Spanish Oaks

The Village at Spanish Oaks will feature a boutique inn as well as retail and office space.

The Oaks at Slaughter development will have several new businesses opening by the end of 2021. (Deeda Lovett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Shopping coming to Congress Ave.; Pflugerville preps tract near Living Spaces and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area, including news on four businesses coming to Hutto.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks; tax-free weekend tips and more Austin-area news

Read the latest business and education news from the Central Texas area.

Sinaloan seafood restaurant El Coco Pirata is now open in Northwest Austin. (Community Impact Newspaper)
New Mexican seafood spot El Coco Pirata now open in Northwest Austin

El Coco Pirata serves classic Sinaloan seafood dishes.

School supplies will be exempt from the 8.25% sales tax Aug. 6-8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
What to know before the statewide tax-free weekend Aug. 6-8

Customers will not have to pay the standard 8.25% sales tax on select clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks under $100.

The city of West Lake Hills could move forward with a capital improvements bond for the Nov. 2 election. (Courtesy Pexels)
November bond election supported by West Lake Hills City Council

The bond package could total $25 million and would tackle the city's critical infrastructure needs.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks for students, staff

Leander ISD updated its COVID-19 protocols this week to include green, yellow and red transmission levels. The district is at its yellow level as of July 28.

Photo of the Sobering Center
Travis County moves forward with plans for mental health diversion program at Sobering Center

The program would divert people experiencing mental health crises away from jail and towards supportive services following low-level offenses.