Second Church of the Highlands planned for Auburn

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A new Church of the Highlands campus and outreach center might soon be coming to Auburn.

The second campus in Auburn will be located on a 55.33-acre plot of land near the intersection of Shug Jordan Parkway and North Donahue Drive, across from the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The main church building will be similar in size and appearance to the current Church of the Highlands campus.

“It’s basically a replica of what you have on East Samford and Glenn, so you’ll know what you’re getting,” said Forrest Cotten, director of Auburn’s Planning Department.

The second campus is being constructed to meet the increasing amount of church-goers at the current location, which held eight separate worship services over Easter weekend.

The Auburn church currently has traffic directors in its parking lot and an overflow section in the lobby on Sundays to help alleviate congestion, but according to a member of the church’s “Dream Team,” even the overflow section often has overflow for the 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. services.

The new campus will also feature a separate building called a “Dream Center,” which will be used as a storage and staging facility for the outreach programs of the Church of the Highlands.

“This is where they’ll store dry goods, water and any outreach materials they need,” said Brian Harris, a project manager from Gonzalez Strength & Associates representing the church’s proposed plans. “This is where they’ll convene and go out into the community, so it’s more a warehouse-type staging facility.”

The Dream Center, which is planned to be 7,445 square feet in size, gained the required conditional use approval from the Auburn Planning Commission last week. The City Council will consider a final conditional use approval at its next meeting in early May.

The Church of the Highlands began in 2001 in the Fine Arts Center of Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham, Alabama. Today, the church has 16 campuses in Alabama with one in Auburn and one in Opelika.

“The church is excited to be looking at a parameter contract in Auburn for a second campus,” Harris said. “It’s impressive that they have the ability to do this. I think it shows the demand and the appreciation the community has for the church.”

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