Author Archives: markhowardmatthews

Renovation Q&As

First, some news: You can now ride the elevator, meet in the upstairs rooms, and use (if appropriate) the women’s bathroom next to Pierce Hall. The third-floor “wiggle room,” the kitchen, and the gathering space furniture will be ready by March 15.

Will we celebrate the renovation’s completion? Yes, we’re planning a celebration on the weekend of March 14-15.

Why the blue lights in the terrace surface? They are decorative, deliberately softening the other outside lights.

What about the flooding of the first floor (lower level) from the interior courtyard? These areas were not part of the construction project scope, but we’ve resolved the problem by clearing the courtyard drains.

Are we using water runoff from the green terrace yet? Yes — now for toilets in our bathrooms and, later in the year, for landscape use.

Did the renovation go beyond the plan approved in 2013? A late, surprising addition to an original pledge enabled us to add the kitchen to the plan. Other additions include more window restorations, a new gutter on Pierce Hall, resurfacing of the Princess Balcony, and improvement of the Harvard Street sidewalk.

What can be done to beautify the white concrete around the stairs and ramp on the north corner on the 16th Street side? We are investigating planting vines there.

Are there plans for volunteers to work on certain projects, like the playground, or painting, or…? We hope to create a group of congregants for such projects. We also will be hiring painters for some projects.

Why is there now a door on the north side of the narthex that you have to open to get to the stairs leading up to the balcony? Because that area now has a staircase to the first floor (lower level), the fire code requires the door.

Who should use the stairs leading downstairs from the narthex? Families can now bring their children straight to RE classes from the 16th Street entrance. Similarly, they can use bathrooms without having to go through the sanctuary.

Why is there a fireplace in the second floor (main level) men’s room? History! It will not be used for any purpose.

What is the status of the steeple? We are still seeking the most affordable but effective method to wrap the steeple until we can find enough funding to fully repair it.

Can a congregant still make a pledge to the capital campaign to help pay for the renovation? Yes, indeed. We need them! And we hope some pledgers might add to their original contribution.


Religious Education Open House – January 11

It was really inspiring to see the tangible results of the TCC last Sunday!  It feels great when you take care of something you love and make it better.

The fast-tracked opening of the Religious Education space was an opportunity to tour the classrooms and experience the light-filled lower level.  It is now an open, bright, and inviting place — intimate enough to create a strong community, while large enough to provide vibrancy. Plus, it will generate a revenue stream from rentals. Seeing all of the happy faces and excited looks on the parents and children as they walked through the newly renovated space truly said it all: The new RE space is everything they hoped for and more!ASC RE2ASC RE4ASC RE3ASC RE 1

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Construction Update: October 26, 2014

Tours of the renovated areas of the church have ended. Please continue to read these updates to stay informed as the renovation project progresses toward a Spring completion date. Once the project is completed, there will be a grand celebration with tours.

Casey Trees will be conducting a tree planting on Saturday, November 1st.  Congregant Jen Bolick is managing this effort. Casey Trees is a Washington, D.C.-based organization committed to restoring, enhancing and protecting the tree canopy of the city.

The new heating systems will be turned on beginning Monday, October 27th and there will be heat in the sanctuary by Sunday, November 2nd.

The newly renovated first floor bathrooms (where the ministers’ offices were located) will be operational starting November 9th.  Renovations will begin the same week on the old bathrooms along the 15th Street corridor, which will be closed until further notice.

The construction wall around the gym will come down in December and the new classrooms can be set up for use beginning at the start of the new year.

It is anticipated that the new kitchen will be completed by the first of the year. Since the new coffee machines require potable water from the kitchen, they won’t be set up until the kitchen work is finished.

Over the next two weeks…

  • The first floor floors will be stained (expect some smells).
  • Pavers will be installed in the terrace.
  • Dirt will be placed in the new terrace tree boxes.
  • Skylights will be installed in the terrace.
  • Gutter work above the office building and sanctuary will be completed.
  • Phase 1 mill work and door installation will be completed.

In the course of the renovation, contractors discovered structural problems with our steeple. As a temporary measure, the steeple will need to be wrapped in steel mesh to prevent further damage and to protect against falling pieces. Eventually, costly restoration will be required, but the mesh will suffice for several years until funds are available for more extensive work.


Construction Update: October 13, 2014

Take a Tour: Executive Director Katie Loughary is offering tours of the construction site after service each Sunday. The tour provides a fascinating and enlightening glimpse of the renovation work in progress. Tours are offered after each service.

This Week (October 13-17, 2014):

  • Most of the plastering and dry wall installation and repairs have been completed in the renovated spaces.
  • Tiling, fixtures and walls are being installed in the new bathrooms.
  • Sensors/timers for all new interior lighting have been installed.
  • It is expected that Pepco will switch the building over to the new power panels. This will require that power be turned off in the building from Tuesday, October 14th through Thursday, October 16th and the church office will be closed all of this week.
  • Once the power has been switched to the new panels, testing of the elevator can begin!

Over the next two weeks…

  • Cement will continue to be poured for the front (16th Street) ramp.
  • Painting work will begin in the renovated areas.
  • Analog lines will be installed for fire alarms, security hardware, and areas of refuge within the building. An area of refuge is designed to hold occupants during a fire or other emergency when evacuation may not be safe or possible.