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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | EAST COUNTY / CONEJO VALLEY

Superstructure for New Church Facility Rises

October 02, 1998|CHRIS G. DENINA

The Calvary Community Church of Westlake Village is one step closer to having the largest auditorium in the Conejo Valley after workers erected the three-story steel superstructure for the 3,000-member Protestant church's new worship auditorium Thursday.

The new facility's 2,800-seat theater-style worship auditorium will dwarf the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza's 1,800-seat and 400-seat theaters.

"We're ready to reach more families," said Senior Pastor Larry DeWitt, who founded the church 20 years ago. DeWitt said the new 200,000-square-foot facility is four times larger than the current facilities and will mainly serve religious functions. Work is expected to be completed by the end of January.

For the past 16 years, the church has used a rented warehouse, said Pastor Doug Posey, who is in charge of the church's adult Bible education program. He said the church's programs--including its family life, singles and divorce recovery ministries--will benefit from the added room.

"It's been a long time coming," Posey said. "If you put all that together and look at the space here, it's tough to schedule things. That will be greatly alleviated at our new building."

The warehouse on Via Colinas seats about 1,100 people in modular chairs and has room for 50 cars outside.

The new worship auditorium on La Tienda Road will accommodate 2,800 people in movie theater-style seating, and have parking spaces for 1,100 cars--all of which could triple the church's congregation to about 9,000 members.

For Gaye Pollenger, a staff member at the church, it will be a welcome move.

"We're in three buildings now and bursting at the seams," Pollenger said, explaining that staff members are now crammed into an administration center, activity center for children's programming and a growth center of offices and meeting rooms.

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