FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

THIRD CENTURY CHALLENGE RENOVATION PROJECT

ALL SOULS CHURCH, UNITARIAN

MARCH 25, 2014 

This FAQ attempts to answer questions that may be on the minds of congregants, friends and neighbors regarding the upcoming All Souls Church Third Century Challenge renovation project. For more information on the project, we recommend that you visit the Third Century Challenge website that can be accessed directly at https://allsoulscapt.wordpress.com/welcome/ or through the All Souls Church homepage, www.all-souls.org.

I. THE PROJECT

Why is the church being renovated?

Our current church building was dedicated in 1924 and is 90 years old. Like any building of this age, it has many problems that must be addressed. Among them are problems with heating, ventilation, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems. We also must also shore up the building’s envelope, including gutters, exterior masonry, roofs and windows. Of particular concern is the accessibility of our building for the disabled, elderly, and persons with strollers. There is no elevator to allow access to the lower and upper levels of the church. Moreover, the existing ramp from the street into the church is hard to find and difficult to navigate. In keeping with our church values, the renovation project will make our building more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Our bathroom facilities are in poor condition, and there are not enough of them. The lower level, where our religious education classes are held, is dark and uninviting. The renovation project will result in a vastly improved church building as All Souls approaches its third century of service.

How is the renovation project being funded?

The renovation project is being funded largely by pledges made by congregants. Currently, $8.4 million has been pledged. The second largest source will be long-term borrowing. The congregation has approved long-term borrowing of up to $2.5 million. We have also received a grant of $50,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation that will be used to conduct repairs to our clock tower and front portico.

When will the construction start? 

Construction will start on Monday, April 14, 2014. 

How long will the renovation take to complete?

The renovation will take approximately 10 months to complete. Therefore, the projected project completion date is mid-February of 2015.

Who is the general contractor? 

The general contractor is Forrester Construction of Rockville, Maryland.

What parts of the church will be affected during the course of the renovation? 

The renovation will affect the current church office, minister and staff offices, meeting rooms, bathrooms, and religious education classrooms. On the outside, the renovation will affect the Harvard Street entrance, the terrace, the fence, and landscaping. There will be work on our gutters, roof, exterior masonry, and windows.

What parts of the church will not be significantly affected during the course of the renovation?

Most important, the renovation will not significantly affect the sanctuary. Not a lot of work will be done in Pierce Hall and the kitchen, dining room, gymnasium and archives room will largely not be touched. The meeting rooms on the second floor, as well as the library on the first floor, will not be renovated but will not be accessible during the course of the renovation.

What sustainability features are included in the renovation?

The following sustainability features are included:

  • Ensuring that the overall envelope is tight with virtually no intrusion of water or air
  • Repairing windows where needed to make them more airtight
  • Upgraded and more energy efficient heating, ventilation and cooling systems
  • High-efficiency lighting fixtures for more efficient energy use, increased life, and greater light output
  • New plumbing and bathroom fixtures to reduce water use
  • Insulation of all ceilings, including the non-renovated areas
  • Installation of a eco-friendly elevator that will not require use of hazardous waste fluid to operate
  • Reclaiming the natural ventilation system originally installed in Pierce Hall, but currently inactive
  • Preparing the roof and installing the conduits for possible future solar energy panels
  • “Greening” of the Harvard St./16th St. terrace with landscaping and permeable surfaces to facilitate drainage
  • Installation of a storm water storage system to capture rainfall and reuse it for irrigation and for flushing in two of the new bathrooms being created.
  • Installing new copper gutters to ensure the long-term sustainability of our building
  • Incorporating sustainability principles throughout construction, including demolition, waste control, monitoring, reporting, and commissioning

Was attention paid to the church’s social justice values in planning the project?

At its September 2012 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the following Policy Statement regarding contracting for the Third Century Challenge building renovation project.

In its assessment of the strengths of competing contractors for the Third Century Challenge, All Souls Church will give special consideration to contractors that:

  • Pay fair wages, and at a minimum a living wage, to all workers;
  • Employ significant numbers of D.C. residents, women, minorities, people with disabilities, and union workers;
  • Are owned or managed by women or minorities; and
  • Utilize environmentally sustainable contracting practices.

In keeping with our congregation’s commitment to social justice, a Social Justice Working Group formed by CAPT (Comprehensive Assets Planning Team) implemented an innovative requirement that all subcontract bidders complete a detailed questionnaire concerning their overall employment record and employment practices to be followed on this project. Based on their answers, the church instructed the general contractor to remove six firms from bidding; added several dozen additional bidders to increase the representation of women-owned, minority-owned, DC-based firms, and unionized firms; and accepted two bids that were not the lowest-price bidders. As a result, 100% of all workers on the project will be paid at least the DC Living Wage of $12.50 per hour; 28% of all contract work hours will go to African American or Latino construction workers; and a substantial number of apprenticeships will go to women seeking to enter the construction trades.  The Social Justice Working Group will be monitoring the project throughout the construction to make sure that everyone “walks the walk” in adhering to agreed upon social justice goals. Once the project is over, the Working Group will create a toolkit to help other congregations use this approach in their projects.

Can I still pledge to the capital campaign to help fund the renovation?

Absolutely! Every dollar raised is a dollar that the church will not have to borrow with interest. All gifts, large or small, are needed and will be very much appreciated. To request a visit by a member of the Third Century Challenge Committee, to make a pledge, to set up a regular payment plan, or if you have campaign questions, please contact Katie Loughary, All Souls Church Executive Director, at kloughary@allsouls.ws or 202-332-5266, ext. 103. We need everybody’s participation to make this a winning campaign!

What if I have already pledged? 

We are halfway through the campaign pledge period. A BIG THANKS to all who are paying regularly on schedule or who have paid their entire pledge! 

If you have already pledged and can afford to accelerate your payments, it has been calculated that for every $1,000 contributed now rather than in 2017, which is the end of the payment period, the church saves $112 in interest costs.

Also, if you are paying by check or on an “as can” basis, you are urged you to set up manageable, regular payments through your bank (which is most beneficial to the campaign, as the church pays no fees) or online through PayPal at the church website. Even though PayPal charges fees, regular payments provide the best cash flow and really help the church pay renovation bills as they come due.

To accelerate your payments, set up a regular payment plan or ask campaign questions, please contact Katie Loughary, All Souls Church Executive Director, at kloughary@allsouls.ws or 202-332-5266, ext. 103.

Are there other ways I can help with the renovation?

Do-it-yourself projects have been proposed for areas of the church that are not being renovated due to lack of funding. Such projects may be possible down the line and volunteers will be recruited.

II. DURING THE RENOVATION

Will Sunday services be affected?

Sunday services will be held in the sanctuary as usual and will not be affected by the renovation project. 

Where will Religious Education (RE) classes be held?

RE classes will be held in various locations within the church, primarily the gymnasium and the Spirit Room.  Use will also be made of space that is being offered by the La Clinica Del Pueblo across the street from the church.  Specific information about the location of classes has already been communicated to RE parents and teachers.  For further information on the location of RE classes during the renovation, go to www.all-souls.org/re.

How can I enter the church on Sunday?

On Sunday mornings for service, you will be able to enter the church through the 16th Street entrance as you do now.   You will also be able to enter through a door leading into Pierce Hall from 15th Street. The Harvard Street entrance will be closed until the renovation project has been completed.

How can I enter the church during the week and on Saturday? 

During the week and on Saturday, you only will be able to enter through a door leading into Pierce Hall from 15th Street. The Harvard Street door will be closed during the renovation.

What interior doors and passageways will be closed off during the renovation? 

Both north side doors leading out of the sanctuary and balcony will be sealed. There will also be a barrier just past the current first floor women’s bathroom. This barrier will block access to the office building. On the lower level, a barrier will be constructed at the south side of the 15th Street corridor near the Spirit Room.

Can I still sit in the balcony during the renovation?

Yes, the balcony will be open. You can enter the balcony from the narthex (16th Street lobby area) or by using the south side stairwell near Pierce Hall. The north side balcony door will be sealed.

Where will the church front office/reception desk be located during the renovation? 

The front office/reception desk will be located temporarily in Pierce Hall.

Will hours of operation for the church be changed during the renovation? 

During the renovation, church hours will be changed to the following:

Monday – closed

Tuesday through Thursday – 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday and Saturday – closed

Sunday – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Which minister and staff offices will be affected and where will these offices be temporarily relocated? 

All minister and staff offices will be relocated to cubicles that will be set up in the dining room on the lower level.   There will be rooms designated within the church where private meetings with ministers and staff can be held.

Will there still be coffee and lunches in Pierce Hall after services on Sunday? 

Coffee and lunches will still be served in Pierce Hall after services on Sunday.

Where can church meetings and activities be held?

Church meetings and activities can be held in the balcony, the choir loft, Pierce Hall, the sanctuary and in nearby locations that have been identified by the church and that have agreed to allow us to use their facilities. To request meeting or activity space, contact Tony Eason at teason@allsouls.ws or 202-332-5266, ext 101. 

Will parking around the church be affected? 

It is expected that there will only be a few parking spaces around the church that will be impacted by the renovation project at any given time. 

What restrooms will be available?

Until the new first floor bathrooms have been constructed, the current bathrooms along the 15th Street side on the main level will be available. Once the new bathrooms are open for use, the current bathrooms will no longer be available as the area along the corridor will be undergoing renovation and turned into a different use. The bathrooms downstairs will be closed throughout the renovation. 

Will telephone numbers and e-mail addresses remain the same for ministers and staff?

The main church telephone number (202-332-5266) and all staff e-mail addresses will remain the same.

What entrance will be accessible for the disabled, persons with strollers, or others who have difficulty mounting steps? 

During the renovation, a new temporary ramp will be constructed leading into the re-opened 15th Street Pierce Hall entrance. 

Where can I park my bicycle during the renovation? 

Much of the fence to which bicycles are customarily locked is being permanently removed as a result of the renovation project. An alternative location for parking bicycles is inside the south lawn where they can be locked to the fence surrounding the area. Note that the church cannot guarantee the security of bicycles.

What about dust and noise both for the congregation and for our neighbors? 

Every effort will be made by our contractors to keep dust and noise to a minimum, both for the benefit of our congregation but for our neighbors as well. We will reach out to our neighbors to keep them informed of our renovation plans and progress.

Also, areas that are undergoing renovation will be sealed off from the rest of the building. That being said, some dust and noise is inevitable in a project of this scope and size. Of course, no renovation work will be done on Sunday mornings or at night.

Should I be concerned about exposure to hazardous materials during the renovation?

No. Hazardous waste removal will be undertaken in accord to the strictest federal, local and industry standards. Areas where hazardous waste is being removed will be properly sealed off from occupied areas of the building and air quality will be monitored for safety. 

To whom should I direct questions, suggestions, and concerns regarding the renovation project? 

You should direct your questions, suggestions and concerns to Katie Loughary, our church’s Executive Director, at kloughary@allsouls.ws or 202-332-5266, ext. 103. 

III. ONCE THE WORK HAS BEEN DONE

In what ways will the church look and function differently after the renovation? 

When you enter the church at the Harvard Street entrance, you will arrive into a beautiful new gathering space that will have a direct view into our lovely courtyard. To the side, you will see a new reception desk with office space behind it. What are now offices for Rev. Hardies and Rev. Moore, will be turned into beautiful new men’s and women’s bathrooms. Proceeding down the passageway towards Pierce Hall, you will notice a new elevator on your left and new minister and staff offices where bathrooms once were. Further down the passageway, you will encounter a second new women’s bathroom. Proceeding downstairs, you will find new classrooms for religious education classes (several with natural light) and new offices for staff that are grouped together. A new conference room will also be on the lower level.

Outside, you will notice a renovated, more attractive, and structurally sound terrace with skylights into the lower level. You will see that some (but not all) of the windows have been repaired and made more energy efficient and attractive. Fencing around the church has been reconfigured to address considerations of access, security, appearance and cost. You will make note of the removal of the fence across the steps leading up to the front portico and 16th Street entrance. You will also observe that the fence around the playground is still there. The renovation project will add new protective fencing and guard rails around the terrace. The existing fence around the playground will remain. Outdoor lighting and cameras will be installed at the front of the church and on the terrace to enhance security.

Near the corner of 16th and Harvard, you will encounter a new ramp leading onto the portico for entry into the church, as well as on to the terrace. From the terrace, there will be access into the new Harvard Street gathering space. At the front on building, you will find beautiful new landscaping. From the narthex (lobby of the main 16th Street entrance), you will find a reopened, redesigned and renovated stairwell leading directly and conveniently to the Religious Education classrooms, bathrooms, and other facilities of the lower level.

After the renovation, you will find that the building will have improved and more energy efficient heating, ventilation and cooling in renovated spaces, as well as in some areas not being renovated, such as Pierce Hall. Throughout the renovated spaces, you will notice new attractive and energy efficient light fixtures.

Less visible, will be repairs to our gutters, roof, and masonry. You will also not notice the storage tanks that will be collecting and recycling rain run-off for appropriate reuse in and around the building, such as for irrigation and flushing of toilets in two of the new bathrooms. Nor will you see that the roof has been made ready for solar panels that can be installed at a later date.

All and all, once the work has been done the congregation will enjoy a more welcoming, attractive, structurally sound, energy efficient, and environmentally friendly church building. The result of this renovation project will be a church home that will serve the congregation well in the immediate future and in our third century of existence, which will begin in 2021.

 

 

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