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FishHawk Fellowship Church

Mike Wharton • InstallationsSeptember 2019 • September 10, 2019

Christie DWU 10k Laser projectors feed the screens on either side of the stage

Morris Integration Helps Church Light New “Gymatorium” – While Staying Debt-Free

FishHawk Fellowship Church in the Tampa suburb of Lithia, FL has seen a steady influx of new members over the last 15 years, growing from an average of 158 weekly attendees to 2,000-plus. At the heart of this dynamic church’s expansion has been its unfailing efforts to touch the lives of worshippers in a multitude of ways — and not just on Sundays.

The church’s leadership came to Morris Integration for an assist with a new multi-purpose facility that would serve as a gymnasium during the week for sports-related outreach events, then serve as a worship center for services on weekends with seating for 1,300.

But instead of taking out a loan to finance the project, the church wanted to pay for the new building on a cash-only basis and remain debt-free. As a result, the project, which broke ground in March 2017, was completed in several phases over the course of two years.

“Morris sat down with us to hear our vision for the church,” says Collin Higgins, technical director at FishHawk Fellowship. “Their flexibility made this project possible. They were more interested in building a relationship and continuing it in the future than just completing a job.”

Chauvet Rogue R1’s’ paired with R3 Spots add color and depth to the stage and video shots

‡‡         A Hybrid Space

The goal of the “Gymatorium” project was twofold, notes Morris Integration assistant general manager Wade Russell. “We needed to make sure the worship space looked like a worship space but could also transform into a gym during the week. For our lighting design, this meant choosing robust, low-profile fixtures to fit within the space, but also providing all the lighting elements we needed for really successful worship.”

Paul Holst, lighting designer at Morris Integration, designed the lighting system utilizing Chauvet Rogue and Ovation fixtures. “Their leadership team was seeking to reflect the changing dynamics of the church membership through the build by moving from a space that had practically zero lighting to a larger space and larger stage,” says Holst. “To better serve their Sunday and youth services, they wanted a system that was flexible, but not too over-the-top.”

The challenges were both architectural and aesthetic. “We had to devise a system that kept the fixtures tucked away securely so as not to get damaged by the basketball. Then, when the gym becomes the sanctuary for services, it needs to look and feel like a sanctuary. Big garish cages to protect the lighting were simply not an option.”

A permanent F.O.H. stays back in the bleachers.

‡‡         A Flexible Solution

The original brief called for static LED Par lighting fixtures to fit into the budget the church had to work with. But as renderings began to evolve, the church quickly realized the need for more flexibility in the system, thus the necessity for automated, moving head units. “Chauvet is one of our main lines in rentals and sales,” says Holst. “We were able to ramp up the design at a great price point that still fit within their budget, and deliver more bang for their buck,” he continues.

The structural design includes four 15-foot-long finger trusses running in an arc from upstage center to downstage over the staging area. The design gave Holst a way to still use the rigging points in the original build, while providing a broader canvas of lighting angles that a traditional straight three-truss system could not. “We used 20 Chauvet Rogue R1’s paired with six R3 Spots from Chauvet on the trusses over the stage to add color and depth to the stage and video shots.”

Holst positioned the downstage truss farther into the audience seating area, with the lights top-mounted. “To ensure proper coverage and color temperature for I-Mag, we populated the downstage truss with 18 Chauvet Ovation E-260WW LED lekos with 26 degree lens.” An additional six Chauvet Ovation FD-105WW LED Fresnels were deployed downstage. The truss was trimmed as close as possible to the relatively low gymnasium ceiling to protect the fixtures from any errant basketballs.

A moveable air wall comes into play shielding the finger trusses and stage while the gym is activated. The setup also includes a permanent FOH control area equipped with a High End Systems Hoglet 4 lighting controller that stays well protected in a cove in the bleachers. The lighting operator at FOH has control of house lights through the Hoglet also. It interfaces with an ETC Echo wall system, which can act as a stand-alone control.

The latest addition to the sanctuary is a 32’x 9’ Absen Acclaim LED screen

Though the church needs the space to be able to house basketball games, they didn’t want a scoreboard in their worship area. To achieve this, Morris installed projection screens that doubled as scoreboards with Morris’ custom-designed QSC Q-Sys AV automation. During services, these projection screens provided text and lyrics to the augment the spoken word and choral arrangements. Playback video is featured as well.

Two Christie DWU 10K laser projectors feed the screens on both sides of the stage platform. Morris also outfitted FishHawk with a Ross Carbonite CB1 video switcher and a complement of cameras. Nine Christie Access series displays for lobby TVs and Multi-viewers carry the message on the new campus.

Morris cites their company’s ability to meet the unique requirements of the FishHawk Gymatorium project as an example of their commitment to an “above and beyond” approach when it comes to exceeding client expectations. And while that might include rigorous technical training to ensure that clients are able to fully leverage the technologies at their fingertips, the mindset they carry into every project is to have fun while learning. “We want everyone to be comfortable with the new technology,” says Holst. “We are there through a full dress rehearsal with our technical staff onsite. And we are present for the first service.”

“What Morris brought to the table was amazing,” says Mathew Leach, FishHawk Fellowship’s pastor of worship. “The outcome far exceeded any of our dreams as well as the expectations of our congregation.” Higgins agrees. “I can’t speak highly enough of the team at Morris and how they bent over backward to make our dream a reality.”

“The Morris team enjoyed partnering with FishHawk on this project and working with the whole team,” says Morris’ Wade Russell, noting the latest addition to the sanctuary — a 32-by-nine-foot Absen Acclaim LED screen positioned upstage center behind the platform. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with FishHawk as they continue to grow.”


A Commitment to Customized Solutions

Morris notes the simple logic behind the customized approach it takes to exceed client expectations for complex projects: Every application is different, so the most effective lighting and sound solutions need to be customized to be truly impactful. From light and sound experiences for multi-stage festivals, conferences and sold-out stadiums to integrating equipment and system designs that create dynamic immersive events in churches and corporations, Morris takes the time to consult, strategize and thoroughly design an audio-visual environment tailored to each client’s goals. Morris is a premier audio, video, lighting, acoustics and design provider and installer, working with clients across the globe.

For more information about Morris, go to


FishHawk Fellowship Gymatorium



  • 18       Chauvet Ovation E-260WW LED lekos w/ 26° lens
  • 6          Chauvet Ovation FD-105WW LED Fresnels
  • 20       Chauvet Rogue R1 Washes
  • 6          Chauvet Rogue R3 Spots
  • 1          Chauvet Amhaze Stadium hazer
  • 1          High End Systems Hoglet 4 controller
  • 1          Pathway Pathport DMX distribution system
  • 1          ETC echo wall station system


  • 98       Absen Acclaim 3.8mm tiles (for 32’ x 9’ LED screen)
  • 2          Christie DWU 10K laser projectors (for side screens)
  • 1          Ross Carbonite CB1 video switcher
  • 1          Hitachi HD5500 camera
  • 1          Panasonic HE130 PTZ camera
  • 4          Marshall CV343 POV cameras
  • 1          Custom Middle Atlantic broadcast room furniture setup
  • 1          Clear-Com intercom system
  • 9          Christie Access series displays for lobby TVs and multi-viewers


  • 1          d&b 10AL line array system
  • 1          DiGiCo SD9 FOH console
  • 1          Shure ULXD Wireless Mic system
  • 1          Yamaha TF3 broadcast console
  • 1          QSC Q-SYS for DSP and control
  •             QSC pendant speakers for lobby audio





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