As University Christian Church celebrates its 150th anniversary, the church is also preparing for a $12 million renovation project to begin this fall.

The project was filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation on Aug. 15 and is scheduled to start Oct. 1 with an anticipated completion date 13 months later. The renovations are in response to the challenges the church faces with its aging facility, such as long hallways that make the building difficult to navigate for visitors and members, primary parking located on the opposite side of the main entrance and no large gathering spaces for youth activities on the weekends. 

The scope of renovations includes reconfiguration of walls, relocation of a stairway, mechanical, electrical and plumbing alterations and new finishes to the church.

University Christian Church is affiliated with The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), established in 1873 in Thorp Spring, Texas, according to its website. The church relocated to Fort Worth in 1911 and operated within Texas Christian University until 1933 when the church had funds to build its home located at 2720 S. University Drive.

This 1993 archival photo shows University Christian Church’s newly constructed building at 2720 S. University Drive. (Courtesy | Cornerstone Campaign case statement).

The renovations are part of the church’s Cornerstone Project. The Cornerstone campaign website states that the 90-year-old building “as it exists, places barriers between people.” 

This drawing shows the church’s planned entrance on Rogers Street. (Courtesy | Cornerstone Campaign case statement).

Features of the proposed renovation include an expanded entrance on Rogers Street with an “exterior bell tower design and lots of windows to add light and visibility,” gathering spaces on both the first and second floor of the building and an updated ministry center for youth.

The church’s renovation plans also propose ways to make its facilities more accessible and safe such as adding a wheelchair lift, a new security system and upgraded fire detection and alarms. 

“We believe that this renovation prepares our historic church for new experiences in faith formation, a greater variety of worship, and an improved setting for building relationships and practicing hospitality,” Rev. Russ Peterman, the church’s senior minister, said in its campaign statement

Harold Muckleroy, founder of the construction company Muckleroy & Falls and chair of the church’s construction advisory committee, is leading the project along with his wife, Pat Muckleroy. 

“Of course, this project is going to be very disruptive to the church. So everybody needs to get geared to know we’re going to have disruption and a lot of dust,” Muckleroy said in a May Cornerstone update video with Peterman. 

Some areas of the church will be closed off during the construction and that the project plans to work in phases, Muckleroy added. 

The church partnered with Andrew Oxley, a local architect who has previously partnered with four different Fort Worth churches as well as one in North Richland Hills. 

“We look back with gratitude at all the ways God has blessed and used UCC to bless others,” Peterman said in the campaign statement. “We also look ahead to discern how God is calling UCC to serve the generations to come.” 

Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member, covering faith for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at or on Twitter at @marissaygreene

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Marissa Greene is a Report for America corps member and covers faith in Tarrant County for the Fort Worth Report. Greene got her start in journalism at Austin Community College, where she spearheaded the...