We called the campaign “Building for Courageous Love”, amazingly, we raised pledges of $6M, and in March 2020 we decided as a congregation to proceed to build a beautiful new sanctuary. A few weeks later, a pandemic struck, altered our world, and we took a deep breath and paused.
Today, I am here to tell you where we are now.
The two teams (just described) started meeting and working again in August – Sept. 2020.
A short history of the project: After several years of work defining our needs, choosing an architect and eliciting lots of congregational input, Ewers Architecture presented a conceptual design in early 2019 for a new 400 seat main-floor sanctuary with a basement to provide space for a chapel, RE expansion, and other gathering/ meeting needs, and plans for remodeling all existing spaces for doubled facility size. We loved the aesthetics of the design and the flow of the spaces. Total cost of the entire project was estimated at $12-13 million.
BET and staff agreed that a new sanctuary was the highest priority. BET proposed a phased construction plan to build the sanctuary over a full basement as Phase I, leaving most of the remodeling for later phases. The cost of that revised plan for Phase I was estimated at $8.6M and the congregation approved the expenditure of $8.2M, March 1, 2020. At that time the Capital campaign pledges of $6M were to be augmented by loans of about $1.2M, leaving a $1M gap for additional fund-raising.
Back to NOW – mid-pandemic, we are still excited about Building for Courageous Love, but we are re-evaluating the budget and prioritizing needs.
BET-F has worked diligently to verify that we still expect about $6M in donations, to check on sources of loans and evaluate the potential for loan repayment in a post-pandemic world. Erik has built a model to predict cash flow for the next twenty years and this team is moving toward recommending a total budget of $7.3M to cover construction and associated costs (fees, permits, etc). Of course, new or extended pledges to cover the $1M gap would change the picture.
At the same time, BET has been working hard to assess priorities and see what we can build within the budgetary constraints. We are working with the architect and construction firm to include recommended post-pandemic features. Our attempts to continue the process of eliminating lower priority features to reduce construction cost to the current lower budget figure has hit a wall. That means that we are now looking for design revisions that might lower the cost. We will continue to work with the architect and builder on this goal.
We remain committed to our vision of a beautiful campus that meets the needs of the congregation, not just today but into our post-pandemic future and we are excited about our progress. We hope to reactivate the architect’s design process in early 2021 for a building to be completed by late fall 2022.