Dear NUUC Members and Friends,
We wrote in September to say that we were hard at work on the “to-do” list of next steps for our building project as outlined for us in the Financial Feasibility Study final report by our consultant, Barry Finkelstein. That list included a real estate search for existing buildings, as well as a re-evaluation of the cost estimate for the “Option One” design concept that was selected at the congregational meeting this summer as the best of three design concepts from architect Dave Kerr. Finkelstein also urged us to work to find a “unifying design” for building expansion that addresses important aspects of our vision needed for growth and mission alignment that were not present in the “Option One” design, which included only a 1240 square foot gain in space.
We are happy to now be able to report on those findings and to let you know that we have called for a congregational meeting to be held on Sunday, October 28, at 11:45 AM, for the purpose of asking the congregation for a vote to continue forward.
First, regarding existing real estate: in September we reported there are no existing church buildings currently on the market that meet our needs, including the Crosswoods A.M.E. Church that had excited some interest when it was initially available. We have continued to work with our real estate agent (Connie Davis of Remax) to explore existing commercial space that might be converted to our use. After examining a variety of options including everything from office park space to funeral homes, we have not found anything within our budget that would meet our needs in terms of both space and location.
As to the matter of cost estimates, you may recall that in September, the board took the “Option One” plan from Dave Kerr and the related cost estimates from Lincoln Construction to consulting architect Jeff Seiter, whose expertise lies in verifying construction cost estimates. Seiter found the estimate high, reporting back that we could design a considerably more ambitious building expansion that would fit within the same budget of $900,000. Seiter has since supplied the board with a list of architects he felt were especially well suited to the task of building upon the work already done but also of developing a more ambitious, unifying plan.
We have been interviewing the architects on Seiter’s list as well as a few others who came to our attention through some of their previous projects. The architects we have spoken with all agreed that a more ambitious plan is indeed possible within our budget.
The board met on Tuesday, October 9, and voted to engage the services of architect Kay Onwukwe of HKI Associates, pending a vote to go forward by the congregation at the October 28 meeting. Onwukwe is an award-winning designer and an expert in the construction of flexible, multiple use space. Onwukwe will be at the October 28 congregational meeting to explain his design and cost controlling methodologies. He is currently reporting that he believes that an addition of up to 6,000 square feet is possible within our budget of $900,000. 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. Given the work already done (he has been in touch with Dave Kerr). Onwukwe assures us that he can met our goal of completing a unifying design to present to the congregation within two to three months.
I hope you will be able to come to the October 28 meeting, and as always, if you have any questions please address them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Board of Trustees, Dee Burlison, President