It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years that the CAPT has been working to get to where we are today. When the Comprehensive Assets Planning Team, or CAPT, was formed in 2009, the team’s charge from the Board of Trustees was to develop a plan for the future of All Souls’ buildings and grounds to help the church live into its vision of becoming a Beloved community.
Although we had broadened our fellowship with one another through meals, activities, social groups, circles, and church-wide events, our aging building, which was constructed in 1923, was in need of significant repairs and improvements, and was not able to support our ministries, our dreams and our goals. The building was not accessible, the electrical and mechanical systems were inefficient, outdated and in need of replacement, and the bathrooms were inadequate. Yes, lack of toilets in the women’s bathroom was legitimately a sore point! Because the need was great and the future could look very different, CAPT was presented with an opportunity to consider what we wanted All Souls to become in terms of our building, to imagine all the possibilities, and to create a visionary plan for what Reverend Hardies has called “the next generation of service.”
In 2010 CAPT began working with our architect, Brian Frickie of the Kerns Group, to analyze the state of our building and systems. We made a decision to get the architect involved early to help our small team document the building’s problems and focus on how our space could best be renovated to meet our needs and allow for flexibility and growth in the future. Around the same time, the All Souls 20/20 Visioning Committee, together with the Board of trustees and the congregation, was creating goals and measurable results based on the broad Vision Statements that had been adopted by the congregation at its December 2009 Annual Meeting. The resulting goals included our Goal 4 Statement which reminds us that our goal is to have “a welcoming and accessible building that provides nurturing spaces for spiritual growth, serves the community within and without the walls of All Souls Church, and embodies our commitment to sustainability.”
The Goal 4 Statement was an important foundational aspect of the CAPT’s early work because it connected the building project to the church’s mission, vision and values and reminded everyone that the church is not just about bricks and mortar, but about people. It is about people who may not be able to hear the message that the church has to offer if we don’t provide a place – a building that is open, welcoming, inviting, hospitable, safe, and enables them to hear that life-changing message. To quote Reverend Hardies, it’s about “rebuilding our spiritual home” so that we can “have a home for all the dreams we have yet to dream and the prayers we have yet to pray for our community and our world.”
Starting in December 2010 with our first congregation survey and continuing through October 2011, CAPT held meetings with committees, used surveys and questionnaires, one-on-ones, town halls and Sunday and weekday design feedback sessions to obtain congregational input and vision for our building project. Some 380 adults and 40 children attended the design feedback sessions, offering comments during Q&A’s and in questionnaires. The congregation’s answer to the conceptual design the CAPT presented in October 2011 was a unanimous vote to move forward with a Capital Campaign. With the help of a capital campaign consultant hired by the Board of Trustees, the Third Century Capital Campaign outdid all predictions and raised nearly $8.3 million in pledges.
In the fall of 2012, once the Capital Campaign was essentially completed, CAPT started Schematic Design, the first of three formal design phases, and at the same time hosted a Design Ideas Fair to gather additional input from the congregation and provide some new ideas. More than 80 congregants attended the successful day-long event. Many “aha” moments emerged from the conversations, and from the presentations by the consultants and experts: “daylighting is great;” “our leaky windows may not be the problem we always thought they were;” “an inspiring space for children may be used by adults;” “use of light tubes or skylights to bring natural light into the classrooms;” “layering lights so that they can be welcoming for visitors and discouraging for security;” “Pierce Hall has a passive ventilation system we don’t know how to use.”
Toward the end of the Schematic Design phase in January 2013, CAPT selected Forrester Construction as our general contractor to work with our architect on pricing out the design. In late March 2013, CAPT again engaged the congregation in prioritizing the items to be included in the final plan. This process drew on several streams of information: the design feedback comments, suggestions received during the Third Century Campaign visits, and responses in congregation feedback forms collected after the March 2013 Town Hall meeting. In the next phase, Design Development, which took another three to five months, CAPT started to add more detail to the Schematic Design.
On April 7, 2013, the Board of Trustees presented a resolution to a Special Congregation Meeting to endorse the renovation project based on the March 2013 recommendation for a building program titled “Schematic Design Recommendation: “Protecting our Building, Ensuring Our Future.” The congregation passed the resolution unanimously and authorized the Board to seek a bridge loan of up to $5.5 million – to pay for construction while money was being raised – and a long-term loan of up to $1.5 million to add to the $8 million in pledges. In the phase that followed, Design Development, which took another three to five months, CAPT started to add more detail to the Schematic Design. It was at this stage that we worked closely with our architect and general contractor to develop the specific systems and preliminary drawings to be used by construction industry professionals in preparing more detailed estimates. These drawings became the basis for “working drawings” that eventually were used by contractors and subcontractors to bid the project, build the project and apply for required permits.
The final phase of the design process, called the Construction Documents phase, began in September 2013 and was completed in early January 2014 upon the delivery of design drawings to the church. The plan – which is still subject to change – will be presented and explained at an upcoming congregational meeting on March 2, 2014, along with a motion to be voted on regarding the loan authority to be given to the Board of Trustees and the Investment Committee. The Construction Documents are almost ready, the necessary approvals have been obtained from the Historic Preservation Office, and we have received all the permits associated with demolition and construction on the property. Currently, we estimate that work will begin in mid-April 2014, and be completed by January 2015.
All Souls has always been a church with a vision, making choices through determined leadership, based on responsible planning. The cycle continues, with new choices and challenges. Although the work of CAPT isn’t over yet, this is definitely is a time to pause for a moment and celebrate how far we’ve come.