Capital Needs & Improvements

Dear Church Family and Friends,
Many of you were drawn to our church because of our wonderful hospitality and emphasis on loving everyone without exception.  In addition, you truly appreciate and love our beautiful, historic building.  You also understand that with an almost 100-year-old building come capital improvement and maintenance projects.  Within the last year, we have had a lot of capital improvement projects happening around the church, and I know many of you would appreciate an update on the progress we’ve made.  None of them are all that glamourous, but all are necessary and greatly improve the overall well-being and functionality of our building.
Parking Lot

You will notice this week that our parking lot is being re-paved.  It looks great so far!  We had several safety hazards, as noted by our insurance company, due to the age of the pavement as well as having had to remove trees in recent years that originally had been paved around.  This will greatly improve safety for our vehicles and people walking through our lot.  This project is being paid jointly by the church and ASP since both regularly use the parking lot.

Sump Pumps

You may have noticed water coming from a pipe at the very front of our handicap spaces in the parking lot.  The water flows from the pipe to a drain that then helps the water to flow along 5th Avenue South to the city storm drain on the corner.  This “new flow” is a result of replacing our sump pumps back in September following a flooding issue in the basement after heavy rains from a hurricane.  The sump pumps take turns pumping water from our basement to that drain pipe and another drain pipe that empties onto 40th Street South at the corner by the back alleyway.  Even in dry weather, there is a constant flow of water from an underground stream that runs underneath the building.  The sump pumps keep that water flowing consistently out of our basement.

Improved Lighting

We had a lot of light fixtures inside and outside our building that needed to be replaced.  In January and February, all the lights in the fellowship hall, choir room, 2nd floor women’s bathroom, nursery hallway, and ASP hospitality suite were replaced.  The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is the fellowship hall.  Everything is much brighter and even.  So many of those lights flickered or didn’t all turn on when needed.  In addition, new fixtures were installed outside above our main entrances.  This is a definite improvement for ministries and groups who use our facilities at night.

Sanctuary HVAC

The week of Christmas, we discovered a problem with the pipes that send steam to the radiators that heat our sanctuary.  There are several sections of pipe that have corroded over time (a normal process).  As a result, the steam is leaking in those sections and water that is supposed to return to the boiler is not returning.  One complicating factor in all of this is that the steam pipes are wrapped with insulation that’s made with asbestos.  That hasn’t been a health concern because asbestos is only dangerous if disturbed.  However, in order to replace the pipes, the asbestos had to be abated.  This was done in January.

In addition, our boiler itself is about 20 years old, which is toward the end of a normal life cycle for a boiler.  Another item to note is that the system that supplies our AC to the sanctuary is reaching the end of its life cycle.  The boiler and AC are two separate systems; however, while we were evaluating our options for our boiler, we felt it best to take a step back to evaluate our best option for the entire system to take us into the future.  We don’t want to pay a lot of money to put band-aids on something if we can come up with and afford a long-term sustainable solution.

Thus, we have consulted a mechanical engineer and architect to give us a long-term solution.  They are currently designing an HVAC system for our building.  Once that’s complete, we will be able to get an estimate of how much this will cost.  It’s important to note that we are still in the exploration phase of this process, and no decisions have been made yet.

Thank you for your patience as we have worshiped in the Fellowship Hall these past three months during the cold winter weather.  I look forward to moving back into the Sanctuary for worship on Easter Sunday as we anticipate warmer weather in coming months that doesn’t require the use of our boiler.  For now, our AC continues to be in good working condition.

Long-term Restoration & Renovations

We currently have a team dubbed the Capital Team that is working on a long-term plan for restoring and renovating our historic building.  The Capital Team began meeting in earnest in January to discuss all our current needs as well as our dreams of what could be.  This team has hired a construction firm to help us come up with a realistic long-term plan.  The plan will likely happen in phases because we want to be able to pay for improvements with cash rather than having to borrow money.  Thus, we will work to devise a capital fundraising campaign once we have our long-term plan in place.  This will help us to raise money as folks make pledges toward our goal.  Stay tuned for what’s to come.

The Capital Team is chaired by Henry Levens.  Others on the team are: Margaret Kneisley, David Majors, Steve Thomas, Renae Black, and me.

As always, feel free to ask if you have any questions.


Rev. Malinda Weaver

P.S. Here’s an original architectural rendering of our building that I thought you’d love to see.

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