questions about the project
What will the Fellowship gain with a building expansion and renovation? Actually, quite a lot! A renovation and expansion will allow us to have a single service again in a larger sanctuary so that we can nurture our sense of community. We will be also able to increase the size and quality of our RE space which, in turn, could make additional programming for children, youth, and adults possible. Furthermore, a building expansion will provide quality office space for the minister and staff members, expand our room for Fellowship social occasions, and allow us to host community events. The renovated building would add storage space for supplies and equipment, too. All of these changes will make our building more functional and more inviting.
What will the new building look like? Ken Doyno and Associates worked with the congregation to envision our priorities for a building expansion. They brought two possible designs (see below link) to our September 2018 congregational meeting and gathered additional feedback. Whether we continue with Doyno and Associates or decide to seek out a different architect, the UUFWC will communicate regularly on design ideas as the final plans for the building evolve. The amount of money raised in our capital campaign will also influence the final design.
What are the estimated costs of the building expansion and renovation? Based on initial designs by Ken Doyno and Associates, presented at the annual meeting back in May, our steering committee gathered information from contractors about building costs. We then shared those cost estimates with Ken Doyno and his staff who, in turn, created the two revised designs, presented in September, to stay within our budget of $1,500,000. Anticipated costs of the project are as follows:
What is the UUFWC’s goal for the capital campaign? The goal is to raise $1,250,000 through the capital campaign, which will give us optimal flexibility during the design and building process. The remaining cost will be paid through a mortgage of $250,000.
If we don’t reach our goal, can we just get a bigger mortgage? We could if we needed to, but sticking to a smaller mortgage will save us money. The Finance Committee recommended that the UUFWC obtain a mortgage no greater than $750,000, and our bank has assured us that the UUFWC’s past financial responsibility would make us eligible for a loan of up to $800,000. However, larger loans come with higher servicing costs. A $750,000 mortgage would require $58,000 per year to service it, while a mortgage of $250,000 would have only $22,000 per year in service costs, which would save the Fellowship $36,000 annually that we could be use for programming and other needs. In short, the better we do with the capital campaign, the better off we’ll be in the long run.
What is the timetable for the capital campaign and building project? The entire project timeline is, approximately, a little over 3 years. The first phase of the capital campaign, when we’re asking members and friends to make a financial commitment to the expansion and renovation project, will conclude by December 2018. In the years that immediately follow, we will collect payments on pledges and continue to raise funds through specific projects and by directly contacting other potential supporters. The development of the building—design, permits, bids, preparation—would likely take place in 2019-2021, with the construction process tentatively beginning in early 2022 for an official opening later that year. Over this time period, we will also continue to pay down our mortgage. These dates are all approximate, of course, depending on the outcome of the capital campaign and other factors.
Is it wise to begin a capital campaign when Elaine is going to retire in July 2018? As we plan to expand the Fellowship building, we also will be wishing Elaine a happy retirement and working to fill her critical position. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) guidelines recommend an interim minister for 2 years after Elaine’s retirement before hiring a new ministerial leader. As we search first for an interim minister and then a permanent replacement, a successful capital campaign and building expansion will actually help us attract good candidates. Who wouldn’t want to join a fellowship that is thriving in this way?