Open house, Consecration August 28 for Renovated Jones Building at St. Paul's UMC, Houston

Date Posted: 8/22/2011

After a year of construction to expand and renovate the Jones Building at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church – including four months of closure -- it will re-open for classes and special events on August 28. The building will be consecrated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and service on the Jones Plaza at 9:30 a.m. that morning immediately followed by an Open House until 10:15 a.m. Sunday School for all ages will follow, and an additional Open House will run from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.


During the week, this building primarily serves the St. Paul’s school and children’s Sunday School, the fastest-growing portion of the church’s population.  In addition, the second floor holds Fondren Hall, the site of lectures by local and international religious leaders plus other church-wide and community events.


The two-story-plus-basement Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones Building was constructed in the 1950s on property donated the Joneses and their foundation, Houston Endowment. The 10,500-square-foot addition with a net gain of 10 new classrooms equals approximately 30 percent of the original building. Among the new classrooms are two large activity rooms that will allow indoor play during inclement weather. A 1,000-foot terrace outside of Fondren Hall also will serve as the roof for an outdoor protected play area.


Critical for a building that primarily hosts children, St. Paul’s is seeking a LEED Silver Certification in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LED Design and Construction requirements. A LEED school creates a healthy environment that is more conducive to learning, while saving energy, resources, and money.


“The building has been brought into the 21st century and in line with expectations that people have today. It was time for our building to match the wonderful programming for children and adults that happen in our space,” said Dr. L. James (Jim) Bankston, senior minister.


“We are seeing growing numbers of children and young families in our church. We simply had to have the vision and commitment to build this building for our future that those who came before us had in building our sanctuary.” (St. Paul’s iconic modified English Gothic sanctuary building was constructed during the height of the Great Depression.)   


The planning and architectural firm is Merriman Holt Architects; the construction contractor is W.S. Bellows Construction Corporation.


At 5501 Main, St. Paul’s sanctuary on the corner of Main and Binz/Bissonnet, across from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The church is within one block of both Museum District MetroRail stops, and free parking is available in two lots behind the church on Fannin Street. For more about St. Paul’s, see