Church saves the soul of old Stapleton Airport hangar |

Church saves the soul of old Stapleton Airport hangar

Drew FitzGerald
The Denver Post

Soulless as it might seem for a concrete aircraft hangar to house a church sanctuary, the Rev. Dean Hill says it’s the perfect way to preserve a little of Stapleton International Airport’s spirit.

The late engineer Milo Ketchum designed Hangar 61’s soaring concrete arc to boast what was possible in 1959. Then came more than 20 years of neglect and the redevelopment of Stapleton for residential use. By 2009, the structure was close to meeting its maker.

“This building was not on our radar screen when we first started searching,” said Hill, who leads the congregation at Stapleton Fellowship Church. “It was slated for demolition when we started looking, and it looked the part. It was totally dilapidated.”

The building’s fortunes changed after historic building developers Larry Nelson and Ruth Falkenberg renovated the building last year with help from Colorado Preservation, which used grants from the State Historical Fund.

The church bought the hangar in May for $1.8 million and plans to invest another $1.1 million turning the structure into a suitable house of worship.

“We’ve done some renovations before, but nothing like this,” said Scott McLean, a principal at Development Advisors LLC, project manager for the rebuild.

The church brought in Irvine, Calif.-based Visioneering Studios to design and theme the shell, with 300 seats in the main sanctuary and a mezzanine for offices and rooms for children’s activities.

For more of this Denver Post story:

Support Local Journalism