There are five basic design principals behind good fellowship hall location and design:
1. Rooms that are rectangle in shape work best. The room should be at least half as wide as it is deep, and with a ceiling height of at least nine feet. Remember that when the room is filled with people all talking at the same time, the sound will be cacophonous. A higher ceiling will help disperse the sound and make a more pleasant social environment.
2. Select floor coverings able to withstand much abuse over the long term. This requirement normally means that if food will be served regularly in this room, the floor covering will be limited to commercial grade vinyl tile, linoleum or ceramic tile. Most carpeting will not be able to withstand the heavy traffic and constant soiling caused by spilled food and beverages.
3. Select wall coverings and paints capable of being washed down. If the walls are to be painted, use a latex paint capable of withstanding regular spot washings. If a wall covering is to be selected, limit the selection to commercial grade vinyl, since this will last for many years and be able to withstand the punishment imposed by the typical fellowship hall.
4. A suspended grid acoustical ceiling, white acoustical ceiling tiles and flush mounted fluorescent lighting work best for most fellowship halls. They hide duct work and piping while still allowing easy access for repairs and maintenance.
5. The fellowship hall is a gathering place or place of assembly, and as such, will be required to have access to the exterior in case of a fire or other emergency. Fire code will also require emergency exit lights and floodlights be installed with a battery back up. Local building code may require all exterior doors be equipped with panic bars which will unlock and open the door quickly in an emergency.
By Stephen Ferrandi, Director, KLNB Religious Properties
Stephen Ferrandi is the Director of KLNB Religious Properties, a real estate firm serving religious clients in Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He is one of the top experts in land development in the region. Mr. Ferrandi frequently contributes real estate related articles to both print and online publications.