• Dear NUUC Members and Friends,

    Your board of trustees is calling a congregational meeting for December 16, to immediately follow the worship service.  We will be asking for a vote to engage Kay Onwukwe as our architect to develop a schematic design to present for congregational approval for a cost of no more than $17,500.    Because of his understanding that the congregation will be extremely interested in accurate cost estimates, Onwukwe has proposed that he work on a “design build” basis, which means that he would work with a construction company on every phase of his design development, so that the budget can be managed and accurately controlled from the very beginning.   For this reason, we will also ask for a vote to approval Shaun Greer as our contractor for this period, for a total cost of not more than $12,000 (this figure is likely to be lower given some of the programming work that has already been accomplished).

    We are aiming to have a design to present for congregational approval yet this winter.  Should the congregation show enthusiasm for the design, our consultant Barry Finkelstein, will return in March to train stewards, and we can launch a combined annual pledge and capital campaign drive this Spring.

    In the past, we have been accustomed to doing a fall annual pledge drive.   However, the opportunity to do a combined drive under Barry’s guidance, in addition to the general advantages of doing a spring pledge drive, have led the board to recommend that we use this opportunity to permanent locate the annual pledge drive to the spring, and change the fiscal year from its current association with the calendar year to a July fiscal start.  Hence, at the December 16 meeting, we will also ask the congregation to vote that we extend our current budget to the new fiscal year.  That budget has been performing very well; we will hear a report on both the budget performance and the status of capital funds at the meeting.   We will also ask that congregants simply extend their pledge at their current levels until the campaign launch.  We do ask that you email minister@nuuc.org to indicate if you would like to increase your pledge, or if you need to decrease it due to changed circumstances.

     We know a lot has happened in a fairly short time relative to the building process, so we are providing a brief summary below of all that has transpired since late this summer.


    Your NUUC Board of Trustees



    Building Project Timeline since August 2018

    At a congregational meeting on August 3, Dave Kerr’s design concept one was selected as the best of three presented designs, using preferential voting.  Support for the concept was nonetheless weak, with 24/65 persons present voting for “none of the above” as their preferred design

    Consultant Barry Finkelstein released the results of the Financial Feasibility Study on August 30.  The results showed good acknowledgement and engagement with the process, appreciation for the work of the Steering Committee, and also, disappointment that Design Concept One did not accomplish more of our mission related goals.  Barry reported that a capital campaign organized around Design Concept One would raise $450-$550K.   Immediately before the meeting, Barry let us know about a member of the congregation willing to give a generous six figure gift towards a Capital Campaign directed around a design that meets more of our goals.  Barry also reported that many of the people he spoke with would also be willing to give more to a project representing more gains.  Barry believes that a  project more in line with our goals has the realistic potential to raise $850-$1150K.

    Shortly after the results of the Feasibility Study, the Steering Committee recommended that as there was not adequate support for a capital campaign around Design Concept One, we suspend efforts to build on our land and look for real estate for purchase, and that the Steering Committee disband.  You can read their recommendations here.

    The board then took on the task of completing the remaining to-do items from the Financial Feasibility study.  This included looking at existing real estate (so far, that search has shown nothing viable, but it remains an active search) and reviewing the cost estimates from Lincoln Construction that estimated the Design Concept One expense to be at $900K.  Jeff Seiter, an architect whose primary practice is the review of cost estimates, examined all the materials, and determined that for $900K we could build something that represents more gain in space and mission alignment than Design Concept One.  Given this information, plus the offer of the large gift, the board decided that it was important to continue to work to find a unifying design concept for building one our land.  The board believes that given the feasibility study sets a reasonable capital campaign goal of $850-$1150K, and that we could pursue a conservative mortgage of $100K, in addition to resources available to us after the sale of Nielsen House, that a projected building cost of $900K leaves room for soft costs and overages.

    The board searched and interviewed architects for this next phase and decided to recommend Kay Onwukwe to the congregation as someone who could use the programming results of the previous work, as well as his own processes, to develop a design concept to present to the congregation for a building with a cost of $900-$950K.    Kay proposed working on a design-build basis with Velocity Construction, in order to tightly manage our $900-$950 budget

    In October of 2018, the board introduced the congregation to Kay Onwukwe and Shaun Greer.