Bundled-up church-goers gathered at the Big Sky Chapel for Christmas Eve morning services.

Looking to the future

Big Sky Chapel seeks input as the community grows

As the Big Sky Chapel nears its 20th anniversary, the chapel’s planning committee is now looking toward the next 20 years, and is asking the community for its input via a short survey.

Three congregations currently use the chapel as well as more than 10 community groups like the Gallatin Women’s Club, Alcoholics Anonymous and others. Due to the increased usage of the chapel, Rod Rempt, chair of the long-term chapel planning committee, said it has become increasingly important to look at how this community space might deal with the challenges attendant to continued growth.

“We’ve started with modest improvements, and now we are looking at bigger projects,” Rempt said. “We want to decide, what is it we need to do next? Do we eventually need to add another building? What do people want to see happen?”

The chapel is currently finishing up phase one of its three-phase master plan. Those improvements, Rempt said, included small steps like adding a brochure rack, ski and bike racks outside, and upgrading the sound system. Another phase one project that will wrap up in the summer of 2018 will be the addition of a crosswalk and signage from the Olive B’s parking area to the chapel.

In June of 2017, the chapel planning committee began tracking attendance, and by June 2018, with a year’s worth of attendance data, along with numbers from the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce’s population growth study, Rempt said the chapel should have a better idea of the community’s needs a decade down the road.

The current survey also will shed light on what Big Sky hopes to see happening at the chapel in the next three to four years.

Phase two, which is what the survey is hoping to gain insight on, would include bigger projects like potentially expanding the parking area to accommodate 20 more spaces. That plan would be in concert with the Big Sky Owners Association’s plan to create better public access to the pond nearby as well as the Big Sky Community Organization’s plan to add a path connecting Lone Mountain Trail to the Community Park.

“We’re asking people to fill out the survey to find out the needs of the community that we might not know of,” Rempt said. “Whatever we do, we want to make sure we maintain the community connection so even more people can use the chapel. It’s much more than just a religious facility.”

Big Sky Chapel’s continued projects are funded in part by rent from the three congregations that use the facility, as well as an endowment fund of more than $1 million that started with funds left over from the construction of the chapel in 1999 and has grown via donations and investments.

To take the survey, visit https://goo.gl/forms/AnUxR2I7R5GWdgjx2 or check out Big Sky Chapel’s Facebook page post from Dec. 19. 


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