We celebrated the Groundbreaking on a cold January 10th and commenced the construction contract on January 13th with Madison Construction of Bryan who was selected as our General Contractor through a competitive bid process. The overall Project is scheduled for completion July 17, 2022.
There are four  major work areas for the project.
- Phase 1 - Renovation of the Staff Offices in the East Wing and Classrooms in the Adult Pod.
- Phase 2 – Renovation of the North, South and West Wings of the Annex, including infilling the pool and atrium spaces, and the addition of the new Connection Center that ties the Annex to the Sanctuary Building, an expanded Contemporary Worship space and expanded Children’s Ministry Areas.
- Phase 3 – Renovation of the current Nursery space to become Adult Classrooms.
- Sitework – Site utilities, parking lot expansions and detention pond expansion.
One of the goals of Phase 1 is to consolidate the staff long-term in the East Wing of the Annex to enhance their working together and efficiency. A second goal is to create two large Adult Classrooms in the Sanctuary Adult Pod with enhanced technology. The construction effort has made good progress, and in a parallel effort, Becky Bauer and the staff have been working diligently to coordinate the furnishings and interiors. We are on track for the staff to move into the finished and furnished areas the week of June 14th. We have also demolished and replaced the section of the floor slab in the Youth Area that did not meet building codes.
Meanwhile, the Site Utilities [underground piping and electrical] have been substantially completed, thereby releasing the preparation of the building pad for the new Connection Center. Also, the large parking lot north of the Sanctuary and the East Staff Lots are being graded and prepared for pouring concrete. The North Lot will be used for construction materials storage during Phase 2 and the East Staff Lot should be ready for the staff to use when they move into the East Wing.
Phase 2 will begin as soon as the Staff consolidates into the East Wing, enabling us to vacate the balance of the Annex [but for the Youth and Kitchen Areas] so that we can begin the renovation and additions. This phase is by far the largest portion of the Project and it will require the most understanding and flexibility by our members as we shuffle activities to other parts of the campus for the next year.
Once Phase 2 and the new Nursery are completed, Phase 3 can be constructed.
We covet your prayers and flexibility as we continue this exciting project.
Steeple Windows Repair
At long last, the steeple windows were installed on May 3. All that remains is a water test to ensure the installation is watertight. The new glass panels are 7/16” thick laminated glass [replacing the ¼” single glass] designed to withstand hurricane force winds. Once the installation is certified, it should serve us well into the future.
While installing the windows, we noticed that some of the acoustical panels in the steeple ceiling were sagging, so we also repaired those panels while we had access. Replacing the windows and repairing the ceiling panels are both covered by our insurance company.
We also plan to clean the steeple surfaces, and then repair cracks and apply a waterproofing membrane with a 10-year material warranty to the stucco siding. This is a building maintenance item approved by the Trustees that we can accomplish much more economically by taking advantage of having the scaffold system in place.
If all goes well, we should have the work complete and the scaffold system removed by the end of May.
Stained Glass Window Repair
On April 9 when a tornado moved through south College Station, the high winds dislodged 3 scaffold runners from the Steeple Repair Scaffold. One of the runners impacted the round stained-glass window on the north wall of the Sanctuary, destroying the protective cover, portions of the lower right quadrant of stained glass, part of the aluminum window frame and some gypsum wallboard, with minimal interior damage.
Our General Contractor handling the steeple windows repair has taken responsibility for the incident [an insurable event] and has contacted and engaged the original glass designer/installer to replace the glass and make the needed repairs.
On Sunday December 8th, we learned the wonderful news that our NEXT campaign, had raised $8.1 million. The campaign amount has climbed to over $8.37 million! We had a very informative Board of Stewards meeting immediately after the 11 a.m. service on that day. More than 100 board members were in attendance at the meeting and had the opportunity to ask questions, as well as provide input.
As a result of input received during the meeting and in subsequent meetings with the executive leadership of the church, including the Board of Stewards chair, Church Council chair, Building Committee chair, Lay Leaders, ministry program and administrative executive staff, the following revisions to the NEXT project have been initiated:
- Establish a Bid Review Team to obtain multiple bids from qualified general contractors through a competitive bid process. This process will provide greater clarity and specificity for the plan forward, with a recommendation to be brought forth to the Trustees in early April.
o The Bid Review Team will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees for subsequent approvals and ultimate recommendation to the Church Conference.
o Proposed Bid Review Team membership was reviewed with the Trustees at their January 9th meeting and the full Team held its first meeting on January 16th to begin the process of identifying and shortlisting contractors to bid on the project. Members include:
Richard Oates– Chair, and Building Committee Chair
David Kellam– Building Committee Leadership Team
Keith Ellis– Trustees Chair
Sam Smith– Trustees member
Fain McDougal– Member at Large
Robert Gadbois– Program Manager and President, OBR; 3rd party support
- This provides additional time for the Finance committee to obtain finance proposals, perform analysis, and make a recommendation for selected lender and communicate the terms of the proposed loan arrangement.
- Modifications to the timeline to accommodate the above revisions
o Any required meetings and approvals as required per The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church will be scheduled to occur expediently as the items above are fleshed out with clear dates.
o We plan to bring all information forward at a Church Conference in late May or early June. It is at this meeting we as a congregation will vote on how to move forward.
Throughout the process moving forward, we will continue to strive for transparency and timeliness in communicating project status updates and successes.
Some members have asked if they should start or continue giving towards their pledge for the NEXT campaign. The answer is absolutely.
Please continue to pray for each of the teams working on this total project.
Master Plan Interiors Design Review Meeting
The Christ UMC leadership team participated in a full-day Interiors Design Review with GFF in Dallas on August 21st. GFF presented recommended finishes, materials and colors for all spaces in the Master Plan Project. It was an inspirational day as the Project came alive with finishes and colors throughout the planned spaces. Our Team made a lot of input to ensure that the “feel” of the spaces met the objectives for each space. For example, we want the Gathering Space to be a space to build community, develop unity and a sense of family, so it needs to have some sense of being in one’s Living Room, rather than just being a big, open space. We want the Children’s Space to have a “WOW Factor” that is attractive to families with young children. We want to create a smooth transition from a lovely traditional Sanctuary into an inviting modern space that houses most of our ministries under one roof. It was a most interesting and productive day.
We thank Emily Mendez and Mia Ovcina of GFF for their preparation and presentation, and our team for their time and energy to participate. Christ UMC was represented by Staff [James Faith, Jerry House, Daniel Lumpee and Heather Normand], Laity [Becky Bauer, Richard Oates and Les Swick] and our Contractor [Jonathan Brinson of Vaughn Construction]. We also want to thank those Ministry Teams that met with us to offer input at our Church in the days leading up to our Dallas Meeting, to include the Adult Class Leaders/Teachers [a group of 12], the Connections Team [Terry Goodman and Missy Holloway], the Contemporary Worship Team [Daniel, Zach Castillo and others] and many others who have had input day-to-day on a variety of design questions.
What an exciting process to be a part of, and what an exciting time to be at Christ UMC!!!
Big House Closing in on Completion
There is a big push underway to complete the Big House Renovation Project as we have only 2 weeks remaining to our target completion the week of August 12. JaCody and their subcontractors have been working nights and weekends to meet the schedule, and the project is really looking good. All of the major HVAC equipment is installed and running, the big projection screen is installed, the ceiling is substantially complete, the stage construction is underway and the sports flooring arrived this week, with installation to start 8/1. The final Audio Video Lighting installation, commissioning and training and the Punch List will begin the week of August 12th. The Trustees enjoyed a “sneak peek” on July 23rd and had good things to say about the newly renovated space.
We would appreciate your continued prayers for a safe and timely completion.
UPDATE: 07-06-19 (1 of 2)
Master Plan Detail Design is Officially Launched!
Following the May 19th approval by the Church Conference to proceed with the detailed design of the Master Plan Phase 1, the planning kicked into high gear. On June 25-26-27, the Christ UMC Team, the GFF Design Architect’s Team and the Pre-Construction Team from Vaughn Construction participated in a 3-day launch event at the church. The focus was on 3 primary Objectives:
- Review the Schematic Design relevant to each area of ministry to test whether any changes needed to be made since the SD release on February 15th. As with the Needs Analysis Workshop in February 2018, all ministry teams were represented by Lay and Clergy [7 & 11, respectively] for the individual ministry reviews, including Adult Discipleship, Contemporary Worship, Connecting Ministry, Administrative, Youth and Children’s Ministry. While all ministries and all spaces were reviewed, special attention was given to possible space constraints for Children’s Ministry [especially capacity/growth for the Nursery and Pre-School], large class spaces for Adult ministry, and Administrative [work spaces and growth]. The solutions for large class spaces for Adult ministry were readily apparent, while the Children’s Ministry and Admin spaces will take further study and are now underway.
- Review the Site Plan with Mitchell & Morgan to continue to test parking spaces close to the Sanctuary and new Entrances, and overall accessibility.
- Conduct a Pre-Application Review with the City of College Station to ensure our Design, Construction and Facilities Teams were aware of and understood City requirements going forward. We spent about 1.5 very productive hours with 10-12 City Staff members from the Planning and Building Departments.
We are excited to be underway and appreciate the continuing support and questions from laity and staff as we plan to make our vision for Christ UMC a reality.
UPDATE: 07-06-19 (2 of 2)
Big House Renovation Project Making Steady Progress
The BHRP is about halfway through its 16-week schedule in moving to an August 12th [before school starts] completion target, which still appears achievable although it is very tight without a moment to spare. The octagonal ceiling and lighting is taking shape, the formerly green wall accents are being covered with the new color scheme, all of the HVAC Units are now in place [including the one we removed and replaced through the SFLP roof on July 4-5-6] and we are preparing for the installation of the Audio/Video/Lighting systems.
We covet your prayers for the safe and timely completion of this much-needed project.
Signs and Driveway Entrances Update
As many of you are aware, the contractor, in conjuction with the City of College Station, opened Pebble Creek and Lakeway Drive on Tuesday, April 30th and closed our current driveway from the Access Road, thereby opening our new driveway entrances for use. Also, for those who have been to campus after sunset you noticed the entrance sign lights have been turned on.
Except for demolition of our current driveway, which remains to be scheduled, the Driveway Entrances and Signs projects are substantially complete.
Please exercise caution as the contractor continues to complete punchlist items on the streets and our driveway entrances, and as we adjust to new traffic flow around and on the Church campus.
New Church Sign Already Impacting Lives
"We just had a lady stop by the front to say thank you for our sign! Her husband has been mad at God for quite some time and often asks why God hates him. She says everyday he has to drive by that sign and it see it say "God Loves You" or "Jesus Loves You." She went on to say that it is such a great thing to have on a big sign because there are so many that need that message. Her name is Rebecca and his name is Tom. She is plugged into a church but felt very compelled to come and tell us how thankful she is for that sign. The Lord be praised!!"
New Entrance Signs Installed Last Week
The signs for the new Pebble Creek and Lakeway Drive entrances were installed this past week. Construction of Pebble Creek and Lakeway Drive by the City of College Station will result in the closure of our current drive, and also require the construction of new driveway entrances. Installation of the two entrance signs completes the installation of the three signs approved by the Church Council on September 27, 2018. The pylon sign, which includes a 12 foot wide by 6 foot high digital message board and a 21 foot tall cross, was installed on the Highway 6 Access Road the week of March 25th.
The City of College Station has given the contractor until May 5th to complete construction and open Pebble Creek and Lakeway Drive. The City will close the Church’s current driveway from the Access Road when they open the new streets. The closure date of the existing drive and opening of the new driveway entrances will be communicated once that date is determined.
Thanks to the many who contributed their ideas and funds in making these signs a reality. Now, let’s pray together for a real impact in outreach to our community.
(Left: Lakeway Drive sign; Right: Pebble Creek sign)
Prep Work Now Complete for the Big House Renovation Project
The structural and roofing preparation work that needed to be completed ahead of starting the Big House Renovation Project is now complete. BB Construction completed Phase 2 of the Big House Roof Structure Remediation on Monday March 11th. This work involved installing numerous large wooden beams and associated framing members over the chancel area. On Friday March 15thGessner Engineering inspected the installation and signed-off on the repairs.
Schulte Roofing completed the repair of the roof over the Big House and Narthex on Wednesday March 27th. This work involved installing new flashing and shingles at several architectural and venting assemblies to eliminate known leaks in the roof.
We plan to start the Big House Renovation on May 1st with a targeted completion of mid-August.
Facilities Planning Team
The 40 foot long by 20 inch diameter steel pipe which will provide structural support for the new Pylon sign along Hwy. 6 was installed this past Friday. In approximately two weeks, the actual sign which includes a 12 foot wide by 6 foot high digital message board should be installed. A Congregational meeting to communicate the proposed Plan for new Church signs and solicit feedback was held September 16, 2018. After the Congregational meeting, and following the review of the Trustees and funding means by Finance, the Church Council on September 27, 2018 approved the sign plan and their final design.
The Board of Stewards met on Sunday, March 3rd to consider two Resolutions for how to proceed on the Big House Renovation Project and the Master Plan effort. Both Resolutions were approved [see link], with the Big House Project being amended to add the sports floor and basketball capability back to the scope.
Our Architect, GFF, is released to complete construction documents for the Big House so that JaCody Construction can execute the renovation, with an aggressive schedule target of August 15th completion.
Vaughn Construction has been contracted to provide Phase 1 Pre-construction Services for the Master Plan for the purpose of developing a cost estimate, schedule and initial constructability concerns so that Christ UMC has good cost and schedule information upon which to base a recommendation to the congregation on how to proceed with the Plan. Concurrently, Christ UMC will select a Pre-Capital Campaign consultant to help us develop materials to communicate any proposed plans to the congregation ahead of an expected Church Conference in May or June.
Thanks for the input from a great turnout at the BOS Meeting!!!
Master Plan Vision – by Jerry House
I cannot think of a time when I’ve been more excited about the future of our congregation. For the past 18 months, our Facilities Planning Team has worked with our staff, lay leadership, and GFF Architects out of Dallas to develop a new campus Master Plan. That Plan, which you will read about in this email will impact every facet of our congregational life in a way that, I believe, positions our church for an incredibly fruitful next 25 years.
That impact will be felt in four primary areas: Children’s Space, Gathering Space, Worship Space, and Parking.
Our children’s ministries are stronger than ever, and the space we have allocated for children’s ministries has not been seriously addressed since we moved onto this campus in 1998. This Master Plan relocates our children’s ministries AND nursery to the Annex Building where secure, new, and innovative children’s facilities will be developed.
The Master Plan includes a major Gathering Area that connects the current sanctuary and Annex Building and provides a new “front door” for our church. I believe this component of our Master Plan will unify our congregation in a way that we haven’t seen since we were in our first building back in 1998-2000. No longer will a person come to our campus on Sunday and NOT see children. Space will now be available for people to visit and connect on Sundays in between worship services rather than feel like they have to clear out to make room for another crowd arriving to worship. In addition, this addition of a Gathering Space that connects the Sanctuary and Annex buildings brings almost all of our ministries on Sunday and during the week, with the exception of our School For Little People, under one roof.
As for worship space, the Master Plan creates a new worship space designed specifically for Contemporary Worship. This would allow us to have our Traditional and Blended worship in the Sanctuary and Contemporary Worship in the new worship space that will be located in what is currently our Fellowship Hall. The addition of this new worship space will not only greatly enhance contemporary worship, but more importantly, it will afford us to the blessing of “space” for people to respond to what takes place in any of our three worship services. Currently on Sundays, our sanctuary must clear out to make room for the next group to gather for worship. With a new contemporary worship center, participants will be afforded the time and space to respond to what they experience during the worship service. We believe this will significantly enhance our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples of Jesus Christ.
Lastly, the Master Plan adds 193 new parking spaces on our campus. With the expanded capacity for children’s programming, community-building activities, and worship, coupled with a future 700-home residential development on Lakeway Drive not far from our campus, we know we will need additional parking to accommodate the growth we believe we will experience. Furthermore, the new parking will enhance a more unified campus plan.
While this is clearly an ambitious plan, I believe God has directed us toward this plan for such a time as this. Some of you may be wondering why we would consider such a plan with the looming General Conference. I will tell you what I told our Church Council, Finance Committee, and Board of Trustees this past Tuesday. On Wednesday, February 27, the day after General Conference, our church will be about the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples of Jesus Christ. On Wednesday, March 27th, our church will be about the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples of Jesus Christ. And I believe that on March 27th of 2020 and every day thereafter, our church will be about the business of making disciples of Jesus Christ who make disciples of Jesus Christ.
I hope you will join me in prayer for God’s guidance as we seek to live into His will and purpose for our congregation.
I encourage you to stop by the Connection Center this Sunday, February 24th, and next Sunday, March 3rd. Richard Oates and Les Swick, co-chairs of our Facility Planning Team, will be there with copies of the Master Plan for you to review and ask questions.
FPT Update – by Richard Oates, Co-Chair of Facility Planning Team
Big House and Master Plan Update: Council Approves Next Steps
Following a Facilities Planning Team presentation to a Joint Meeting of the Board of Trustees, Finance Committee and Church Council on February 19th, the Committees and the Council unanimously approved next steps for both the Big House Renovation Project and Master Plan Phase 1. The recommendations now go to the Board of Stewards for their approval on March 3rd.
Highlights of the Meeting include:
- The process being followed is per the Resolutions adopted by the Board of Stewards on October 7, 2018, i.e., to develop the Schematic Design for both projects.
- The Big House Renovation Project was authorized to proceed with design and construction for a budget of $955,475 and a targeted completion of August 30, 2019.
We will consider at the BOS Meeting an Alternate to keep the basketball court in the plan for an added cost of $40,000.
- The Master Plan Phase 1 was authorized to expend up to $25,000 to develop a Construction Estimate and Schedule so that the congregation could have reliable cost information to consider in making recommendations for Phase 1, and up to $25,500 to retain a Consultant to assist in communicating the proposed plan to the congregation BEFORE a recommendation is made to Council, BOS and a Church Conference [targeted for mid-May 2019] to consider a capital building program.
Neither of these expenses involves a long-term commitment; they just get the Church to the point where we know the cost and can effectively communicate the proposed plan.
The Master Plan is substantially the conceptual plan presented at the Town Hall Meetings in September, except that the connection between the Sanctuary and the new Gathering Area will go through the current Connection Center instead of the Columbarium, and we now have a proposed parking layout that is focused on creating spaces close to the Sanctuary and the entrances to the new Gathering Area.
- The Resolutions for Authorization to Proceed with Schematic Design for the Campus Master Plan and Big House, approved by Council 9/27/18 and BOS 10/7/18.
- The Big House Renovation Recommendation presentation made by the FPT to Council on 2/19/19.
- The Master Plan Phase 1 Recommendation presentation made by the FPT to Council on 2/19/19.
- The Proposed Resolutions for Big House and Master Plan Phase 1 presented 2/19/19 to the Council, and approved unanimously.
MRC Sidewalk - As many of you are aware the Methodist Retirement Community (MRC) worked with the church to fund and build a connecting sidewalk between the Langford and the north sanctuary parking lot. This ten foot wide sidewalk, associated retaining wall and rough grading have been completed. Although many residents of the Langford have been using the sidewalk since it was placed several months ago, the overall project is much closer to being finished. The FPT continues to coordinate with representatives from MRC on items remaining to be completed, i.e., final grading along Carroll Fancher and the church property, hydromulching, and other small construction details. This sidewalk serves yet as another physical connection between the church and our community. We do encourage anyone using the sidewalk, until the grass is re-established to be aware and cautious of dirt and mud which can make it very slippery.
Big House -The Phase 1 Truss Repair contract was awarded to BB Construction on a competitive bids basis in October. The FPT was able to negotiate with BB a Not To Exceed cost reimbursable agreement with all savings to be retained by Christ UMC.
The work effort [planned for 8 weeks; to be completed by December 21] was initiated on October 29 and completed November 15 [2 weeks and 4 days]. Substantial savings will accrue to Christ UMC as a result of this successful work effort. Kudos to David Kellam who lead the effort for Christ UMC and BB Construction for their timely and safe performance.
Gessner Engineering conducted a detailed inspection of the completed work on November 16th and will issue a formal letter stating that the facility has been repaired as designed and is safe to occupy. Hallelujah!!!
Gessner was also released on November 16th to proceed with the Phase 2 design [gable truss and the choir loft roof], and we accepted their design on December 14th. The plan is to complete the Phase 2 repair work after we have ensured coordination with GFF Architects for the design of the renovation.
On December 14th, we also received initial images from GFF for the Big House Schematic Design, as you can see in the drawing section. (Pictured below) We look forward to continuing the design process right after the first of the year!
UPDATE (1 of 2): 12-03-18
Streets - Lakeway Driveway was poured on Thursday, November 29th. The sidewalks work is progressing nicely. Larry Young Paving anticipates the City Streets [and our driveways] opening late January.
UPDATE (2 of 2): 12-03-18
Master Plan - Stephen Pickard of GFF met with the Church Facilities Leadership Team on Thursday, 11/29, to advance the Master planning in two key areas: Annex space planning to accommodate Children and Nursery growth, while also meeting the needs of Youth, Adults and Admin, and tabling initial design parameters for AVLA [Audio, Visual, Lighting and Acoustics] for the Big House and the Contemporary Worship space. Custom Sound Design, the AVLA consultant, led by David McCauley, Principal, facilitated a planning session with the Christ UMC team and then toured the Big House and the Annex to get a feel for those spaces.
Lakeway Driveway Work Continues! - The contractor will begin pouring concrete today for the new driveway. Work will also begin on the sidewalk and modifications to the accessible parking outside the Youth area. The contractor is scheduled to finish their work this week, but this means access to the Youth Porch from the parking lot will be limited and there will be periodic barricades preventing access through the parking lot in the area. Please watch for barricades, men and equipment.
Lakeway Driveway work has begun! - The streets contractor began excavation for the new driveway on Monday, November 19. Please watch for men and equipment on the Youth side of our campus.
Driveways - Thanks to all of you [and the voters!] who put up with the traffic barriers on our main drive this week. The good news is that the Pebble Creek Parkway driveway has been completed and so have the modifications to the islands at that entrance. There will be no traffic barricades on the main drive this week, but depending on weather work will begin on the Lakeway Drive this week, and there will be some intermittent barricades at the back of our campus near the Youth Area. So, please watch for the barricades, heed the traffic control signs, watch for workers, and thank you for your continuing cooperation with the construction effort.
UPDATE (1 of 2): 11-05-18
Big House Structural Repairs are Underway! - Repairs got underway on October 29 to restore the structural integrity of the Big House Roof Support Structure. Two construction crews are working 5 days a week shoring up the trusses with plans to complete Phase 1 of the repairs no later than December 21st. David Kellam is leading the coordination for the Facilities Planning Team in working with the BB Construction Team.
UPDATE (2 of 2): 11-05-18
Driveway and Streets Construction has Begun - Larry Young Paving has made good progress on the construction of Pebble Creek Parkway [PCP] and was able to begin productive work November 5th on the island and paving alterations required for the new driveway connecting PCP to the Christ UMC campus. There will be traffic rerouting on the south side of the campus for the next couple of weeks, and then again later when the work on the driveway from Lakeway Drive begins.
Please heed the traffic signs and watch for the workers, and we will finish as soon as possible
Streets Traffic Rerouting Beginning Monday, November 5 - The Contractor for our Streets Project will begin construction activities related to the Pebble Creek Parkway driveway beginning Monday, November 5. The Traffic Control Plan is to close our south entrance from the feeder early Monday morning through Saturday noon to allow contractor access and work space. All weekday traffic will be required to use one of the other two entrances from the feeder. There will be signs at the closed entrance and barricades at that entrance, at the south exit of the SFLP Parking Lot and across both lanes just east of the drive to the Sanctuary front door. The Plan for this phase should be in effect no more than two weeks. Thank you for your understanding and patience with this project effort!
(1) Our Facilities Leadership Team held a meeting with GFF Architects on Wednesday, October 24th, to formally kickoff the schematic design efforts for both Big House and the Master Plan Phase 1. We are underway! Watch for future updates as the process moves into this next phase.
(2) The contractor putting in the new driveways will begin working on Monday, October 29th. He will start with demolition and paving on the main entrance from the freeway. Although no traffic rerouting is anticipated at this stage, PLEASE use CAUTION, abide by signs and cones, and help ensure worker safety.
(3) The contractor who will be doing truss remediation inside the Big House will also begin working on Monday, October 29th. There should be no disruption to traffic or the SFLP (School For Little People) with this work.
Master Plan Phase 1 and Big House Reconstruction
Approved for schematic design
You might ask “WHY did Christ UMC decide to undertake a Master Plan, and WHY now?”, and those are good questions. Aside from the fact that we have not done a Campus Master Plan since 2013, when the concern with the Big House Roof Structure in the Fall of 2017 caused us to close Big House on November 1, we knew it was time to relook at our overall plan. In considering the plan for how Big House should be reconstructed, we asked ourselves “What is the long-term use of Big House intended to be?” In pursuing the answer to that question, we were prompted to ask the larger question of space utilization across the campus, and how Big House would fit into that plan. Our goal has been to ensure that whatever we spend to reconstruct Big House is consistent with its long-term use in an overall Plan.
We established a leadership team, set some objectives, interviewed four architectural firms, visited representative projects and selected GFF Architects to lead the Master Planning effort.
Christ UMC has been engaged in a Campus Master Planning Process since February 2018. The planning effort has been guided by GFF Architects, with broad participation from Staff, all areas of ministry within the church and the Facilities Planning Team. Input has been solicited through a variety of interchanges, most broadly in the Needs Analysis Workshop of April 4-5, which included staff and lay counterparts representing each area of ministry, as well as general leadership representatives of the congregation.
The Workshop opened our eyes to 3 Emerging Trends in Churches Today, and more importantly, that Christ UMC may not stack up very well against those trends, which are:
- High Quality Kids Space - Growing churches have High Quality Kids Space. Conversely, churches without High Quality Kids Space typically are not growing.
- Gathering / Connection Space- A minimum size of 75% of Worship Seating Space, more commonly, at least 1:1. Serves as a “hub” space that connects all facets of the church’s ministries, and easy access to Children’s Ministry offerings.
- A Range of Options for Worship, typically 2-3- For example, Traditional, Contemporary and maybe a 3rd Congregation.
We took GFF’s counsel to heart, they took the objectives and needs from our participants in the Needs Analysis Workshop, and they formulated a space needs program based on our input along with five design schemes to accommodate those needs. We evaluated those schemes, made a selection to recommend and convened another meeting of an expanded Workshop Team to consider the options.
The Large Group Meeting of August 20 was given a presentation that included an overview of the planning process, the recommendation to adopt one of the five Schemes evaluated and a specific recommendation for a Phase 1 program. The feedback from the group expanded the recommendation to include a larger Gathering Space, and the revised Plan was presented to Town Hall Meetings on September 20 and 23, at which attendees numbered 42 and 67, respectively. Feedback comments at all three venues were positive in the adoption of the Scheme 1 that consolidates ministries in the Annex. This alignment then defines the purpose of the Big House to be a multipurpose space, rather than, say, a contemporary worship space.
The next step for both the Master Plan and Big House is to proceed with Schematic Design so that the design can be further defined, enabling better construction costs estimates and thereby presenting to the congregation more realistic definitions and costs of various design and construction alternatives. A second key product of the SD process is architectural perspectives that will aid the congregation in visualizing the facilities being designed and assisting in fundraising efforts to support the Plan.
Three Resolutions were approved unanimously by the Council on September 27 and then by the Board of Stewards on October 7 to:
- Adopt Master Plan Scheme 1 to consolidate programs and ministries in the Annex. By affirming consolidation in the Annex, the purpose of Big House is affirmed to be rebuilt as a multipurpose space, allowing the design of Big House to begin immediately. This is a strategic direction decision that required no funding.
- Proceed with the Schematic Design phase of the Master Plan by contracting with the architectural firm GFF for the building design services. This decision approved limited funding for the Schematic Design Phase only.
- Proceed with the Schematic Design phase of the urgently needed Big House reconstruction by contracting with the architectural firm GFF for the building design services. Big House will necessarily move forward on a more aggressive schedule than the Master Plan. This decision also approved limited funding for the Schematic Design Phase only.
We expect to authorize the design Contracts with GFF by October 22 and initiate planning and programming meetings on both projects in the coming weeks.
Once the pricing and design information is in hand, it is the next steps of approval where construction/capital funding will be addressed:
- A Church Conference [full congregation] approval on the Master Plan Phase 1. This is planned to be late 1st Quarter 2019.
- Board of Stewards approval of the reconstruction plan for the Big House. This can hopefully be by mid-1st Quarter 2019.
Questions about the Master Plan and Big House Reconstruction can be directed to our Facilities Planning Team Co-chair, Richard Oates at email@example.com.
Please continue to be in prayer for clarity and discernment of how the Lord is leading Christ UMC to respond to His call to “Make Disciples to Make Disciples” in our community and beyond, and your own calling to support the plan to help Christ UMC respond to the needs of our congregation and community.
Fred Bingaman, Board of Stewards
October 18, 2018