When she was in fifth grade in her hometown of Akron, Ohio, Nicole Posten-Thompson, RA, decided she was going to be an architect.
Today, as the founder and principal of Mesa-based On Point Architecture, she leads the renovation team for the historic Trinity Church, now One Life Church, 2130 E. University Drive in Mesa.
Two years ago, she completed the restoration of the courtyard of another historic church in the city, Mesa Nazarene, now Downtown’s Journey of Grace.
“My dad told me that architects design buildings, and I thought that was awesome. I’ve been obsessed with Legos, puzzles, math, and drawing for as long as I can remember, so it seemed natural to become an architect,” she recalls.
It was a long journey, from Akron to Mesa, from a dream to reality: five years of university, five years of internship and nine tests for his architecture degree in 2008.
“Women forging their own paths and breaking down barriers continue to inspire me to do my best for all of my clients. In turn, I hope to inspire my children to aim for the stars as they pursue their passions,” added Posten-Thompson, a Mesa resident since 2003. She married James in 2007; they have three children, aged 6, 12 and 13.
Built in 1962, the campus of today’s One Life Church includes other buildings that have been added and renovated throughout its 60-year history.
The $2.6 million project includes a paint scheme to unite the campus. The campus was a “mixture of colors, the result of 59 years of upgrades and renovations,” Posten-Thompson said.
“We’re also creating a new children’s ministry experience with a whole new entry structure to announce that you’ve arrived in the children’s ministry portion of campus,” she explained.
Completed by Mesa-based Concord General Contracting, the project also includes an expanded check-in space, four classrooms and a central courtyard redesign, complete with yard games, rest areas, a shaded play area and new signage.
“To bring the indoor cafe outdoors, we opened the space up to the outside with a new folding glass door that leads the congregation into a comfortable seating area on the patio at the front of the worship center, with flickering lights on the ceiling. As a finishing arc across the entire campus, the landscaping will be completely refreshed with new trees, shrubs and flower planters,” she explained.
Posten-Thompson has been serving the church since 2004, when the congregation hired his employer to renovate and add to the worship center. This project prompted other renovations.
In 2021, with Jared Moore as the new pastor, a new vision emerged, she recalled. “After reviewing the budget with the contractor, we reduced the scope of the renovations to give them the best value for money.”
Church member and volunteer, Pete Knudson, is the project manager for the renovation.
A resident of Mesa for nearly 60 years, the Minnesota native said the renovation, which began in April, is expected to be substantially complete this month.
“Nicole is doing a fantastic job,” he said, “and with her help the project is turning out to be very impressive.”
Posten-Thompson earned a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kent State University in 2001.
“I always say I came to find the sun because the weather isn’t great in Akron, but I actually came to find myself,” she says. “I left Akron two weeks after graduating from college with only $2,000 in my bank account, the dream of becoming an architect, and my college degree. I’ve never regretted it.”
Within two weeks, Brock, Craig and Thacker Architects in Mesa accepted her as an intern. Since then, she has designed commercial and public facilities in many Arizona communities, including Marana and Belmont and the towns of Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa in the East Valley.
After founding On Point Architecture in 2016, she specialized in facility renovations, self-storage and RV and boat storage facilities, offices/warehouses, restaurants, and tenant improvements. .
Some Mesa buildings his company has recently completed are Rally’s Burger at Greenfield Road and University Drive; Proof Bakery downtown; Fuel Good Nutrition; two preschool classroom renovations at the Child Crisis Center; The Draft Sports Grill; and the remodeling of the Journey of Grace Church.
Throughout this time, she has served the community in other ways: City of Mesa Design Review Board, 2014-2020; former president and member of the Chandler Junior Chamber; and team leader with Habitat for Humanity, 2001–2004.
She is also a Class 1 graduate of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce’s Business Academy (2014) and has also served as a board member, mentor and general member of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. Additionally, she is an associate member of the Arizona Self Storage Association.
Other towns in the East Valley are also places for his creations.
In Chandler, for example, the 20,760 square foot Alta Boulders climbing gym is a transformation of the old Office Depot at 2945 S. Alma School Road. Once a “spent space,” the new facility includes a yoga studio, exercise room, smoothie bar, multi-level aerobics classroom, locker rooms with showers, and a large rock climbing area .
The company worked with a structural engineer from the valley and a block wall designer in Bulgaria, she said.
“Our biggest challenges were incorporating large rock walls into the existing space and locating three exercise rooms around the space for efficiency and better use of space,” she said. . The general contractor was Horizons Commercial Contracting, Mesa.
In the San Tan Valley, On Point designed the 117,229 square foot, 924-unit San Tan Self Storage, 34487 N. Gary Road.
“Pinal County required the building to look ‘more like an office building’ from the street frontage,” Posten-Thompson said of the completed project. “The site overlooks two roads and both had to feature a well-designed building,” she said. The general contractor was TLW Construction, based in Gilbert.
Mesa Nazarene has served downtown Mesa since 1948; now Journey of Grace, the church has grown from a sanctuary building to a four-building campus with a grand central courtyard entrance.
“It had been over 20 years since the yard had been renovated and it had fallen into disrepair with overgrown trees, bushes and heaving concrete pavers,” Posten-Thompson explained.
In 2019, it partnered with Concord General Contracting to provide architectural design services to create two focal points in the courtyard, including covered entrances in each of the main buildings.
The team demolished the existing yard and added cobblestones laid out in a striped pattern, which contrasts with the softness of the artificial grass.
Masonry wall seating, steel benches and new landscaping created mid-century modern style meeting places for the congregation. The On Point team also updated the paint color palette, chose a new shingle roof tile color, and designed a one-of-a-kind steel fence and entry gates. The project was completed in early 2020.
Posten-Thompson said, “Now the church community enjoys weddings, celebrations and Sunday morning services in their beautiful new space.”
The grand reopening celebration at One Life Church is scheduled for Sunday, November 6, from 5-7 p.m. Information: onelifeaz.church.