As of Friday afternoon on January 26, 2018, I was informed that we can get Edgewood Borough permits for both phases of the renovation. I am out of town until March 3, 2018 so details such as cost of permit or any drawing comments will not be known until I return, but a permit will be issued for the HVAC first phase. No contracts will be issued until there is a Session review. FPCE has a line of credit for $200,000 approved and ready to make withdrawals immediately. More next month.
The church renovation will go forward in two phases: one is the replacement of the steam heat system with a forced air system, and second is the reconfiguration of the first floor which includes wheelchair lift, new bathrooms, larger Gathering Place and kitchen.
Before any construction contracts can be issued, building permits need to be obtained from Edgewood Borough which requires additional detailed drawings of the proposed HVAC additions and modifications. Phase 1 covers HVAC in all areas of the church, including the basement Social room, second floor day care, and Sanctuary. These drawings are being completed and then will be submitted to the Borough for approval. Hopefully that process can be completed in the next 30 days.
Following approval, final pricing will be requested and contractors selected to start phase 1. Phase 1 requires forced air furnaces located in the second floor storage room, basement storage room next to Social room, and the basement Mud room and Youth room. Each furnace and A/C condenser will need individual electrical connections, and each furnace requires a gas supply. Several areas that have either frequent or very infrequent use on the 1st floor, such as the Pastor’s office, Church office, nursery, and Music Minister’s office, will be heated/cooled by ductless units (similar to the unit presently used in the Gathering Place except much smaller}. The church presents an unusual occupancy problem in that many areas are only occupied less than 4 hours in a 168 hour week. The most occupied area is the day care at maybe 60 hours per week. No one spends the night, and most often Saturday is unoccupied anywhere in the church.
Insulation will be added in the area above the second floor to make the building more energy efficient. All first floor areas heated/cooled by forced air furnaces will have ceiling or floor supply and returns. The second floor and Social room will have exposed spiral duct, which is popular for use in building and restaurants.
Phase 2 requires some information from Phase 1, but should be able to initiate shortly after contractors are selected for Phase 1. Some minor changes on the LGA drawings will be required, but they are basically ready for submittal.
Regarding a loan for the renovation, the Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation (PHLF) has offered to provide a $250,000 loan at 4.25% 5 year fixed interest rate using the building as collateral. The loan will initially be a construction loan that can be drawn as needed with interest only payments. At the completion of construction, the loan will be converted to a mortgage requiring principal and interest payments for a 15 year term. This is the best offer available so far.
The Renovation Fundraising Team (Amy Moore, Gregg Baldwin, Paul Ohori, Rhonda Apessos, Tom Ochs, Tyler McGuigan, and Pastor Michael) is developing a fundraising strategy that will be implemented in January. But all of you should know that funds are being accepted for the renovation as of now. If you would like to begin donating before the end of 2016, please send in your donation—CLEARLY MARKED—”Renovation Fund.” Thank you.
SUMMARY: A concern was brought to the Session that the heating system poses a significant risk. The pipes running through the walls are very old and fragile. A simple leak could turn into a repair costing tens of thousands of dollars to repair. An investigation revealed that installing an alternate heating and a/c system could result in a significant savings but to maximize it would require some structural changes to the business side of the building. That lead to the discussion on installing a lift to make the main floor more accessible. That consideration led to the need to make the bathrooms more accessible and less like dungeons. That consideration resulted in redesigning the main floor of the Church.
ISSUE: Should we affirm the resolution to proceed with the building renovations.
QUESTIONS FROM THE OCTOBER 2 MEETING AND ANSWERS
We have received the final drawings from LGA Partners Architects along with specifications. After reviewing the drawing and working with LGA to make the necessary changes. We have asked two contractors for pricing. Each contractor has visited FPCE with their subs and are working on their bid. It was hoped these would be available by this date but with summer vacation and the general tardiness of contractors, we are still waiting.
The HVAC—which will encompass the whole building—is a separate project and pricing is complete. The session and congregation will be presented the pricing and alternatives when all the prices are received.
The Session has finally received the architectural drawings from LGA Partners (formerly Lami-Grubb). There are no costs associated with what is in the drawings yet because they have to go out to contractors for bids (electrical, construction, HVAC, etc.). Once that piece is complete, then we can sit down as a congregation to determine priorities and what is realistically attainable. In addition to reaching out to contractors, the drawings must be submitted to the Borough to get proper building permits so that once we decide to move forward, we can begin right away. We will have a year from the time we receive approval to begin construction before having to reapply.
We once again want to stress that no decisions have been made yet. All of this behind-the-scenes work must be completed in order for us to get the whole picture before the Session, with the guidance of the congregation, decides to move forward. While we know this has not been moving as quickly as many have wanted, we trust that the end result will provide us with a more functional and efficient building, giving us greater freedom to use our financial resources to further the good work of the Kingdom in Edgewood.
by Tom Ochs
For the renovation, we must remember that we are dealing with a 100 year building and we are evaluating substantial changes. When the final report is issued, we will all be part of the process to understand the changes, evaluate the costs and make decisions about the feasibility of these changes being part of our growth in future years. Regardless of the final decision, as a church we should be looking optimistically to the future with the intent to grow our numbers and expand our mission.
Since the funds were approved to hire an architect to develop plans for the program area, sanctuary and HVAC, it was necessary to get detailed drawing of the building, survey the electrical and mechanical systems, determine how to relocate the large electrical panel by the men’s bathroom, have a structural engineer evaluate the modifications needed for the ADA lift and have many discussion on the sanctuary platform. There have been discussions on the best method to replace the steam boiler and the most efficient way to service a building where most of the rooms are only occupied a few hours a week. We have had five HVAC contractors visit the church for consultation. The architect has also been backlogged resulting in drawings time taking longer than expected. Although there may be some impatience, for a project such as this a slow approach has its advantages because it helps avoid quick decision that may not be the best in the longer term.
At the present time, we are expecting to receive drawings in the next 2-3 weeks. Because the HVAC encompasses the whole building, we think it may be best to separate that from the program room/sanctuary platform changes. The current distribution of forced air furnaces would allow the HVAC to be installed before those changes are implemented. Of course, before any changes are approved or any contracts issues everyone will have the opportunity to review the changes proposed, the cost associated with those changes and how they will be funded.
When this project started the goal was to reconfigure the first floor to provide a program space that fit the present size of our congregation that was new, functional, easier to maintain, with ADA access and modern bathrooms and kitchen. The inefficient, high maintenance and irregular heat of the steam system was to be replaced with a new more efficient system. The sanctuary platform was to correct years of changes in the sanctuary including removing pews, worship service changes and use of the organ. Hopefully we will be wise enough to make good decisions for the future of our church.
THANK YOU for your patience. The good news is that the architect will have the plans, drawing, and specs for us in the next couple of weeks. Please don’t be discouraged with the apparent lack of progress. Tom Ochs (with an occasional assist from Jim Segedy and Pastor Michael) has been meeting at least weekly with engineers, etc. Tom is especially working hard with HVAC people — and there is the rub. The heating and air-conditioning issue is not as easily done as we thought originally. You will hear much more about the possible renovation soon! Hang in there!
Pastor Michael and those most involved with the building renovation project encourage you to “hang in there.” This is an important decision facing us and it is important that we give it time. Time for thinking, talking, planning, and praying.
Most everyone who attended the annual congregational meeting and presentation on Sunday, January 31 left the meeting with more questions than answers. We hear you.
At this point we await the drawings and specs from the architect. Some of the fog will clear at that time. And please trust us on this—we will discuss, pray and seek God’s will together.
After the worship concluded on Sunday, January 31, Bob Grubb of Lami Grubb Architects delivered a power point presentation of what the possible building renovation would look like. After a fifteen minute presentation, Pastor Michael opened the floor for questions. Bob Grubb, Tom Ochs, Jim Segedy and Pastor Michael responded to the questions.
Here is a brief overview of the proposed renovated space of the first floor:
Finally, the decision regarding the renovation will be voted on BY THE CONGREGATION NOT ONLY THE SESSION. Consequently, the leadership of this project (Tom Ochs, Jim Segedy, Pastor Michael and session) will be conducting at least two more congregational meetings before a decision is made.
I would add two more remarks:
Finally, and from personal experience, my father was contractor. As I grew up, I became very aware of the issues and challenges a contractor faces as building construction and renovation efforts move forward. My Dad made it clear that church construction/renovation projects were extra challenging because so many people from the church would contribute to the design plan as the work proceeded. I will assume that FPCE will not be different. I hope and pray that a firm, trusting relationship between leadership team, session and congregation will be formed so that everyone voice will be heard and all of us will be aware of the changes that occur. As your pastor, I will make every effort to hear and respond to every concern that is raised.
May God bless us with wisdom and resources as we look into the future. The most important guide will be that this congregation become a more effective mission arm of the kingdom of God that Jesus Christ ushered into this world.
Renovation Project Blog
As the Session continues to discuss ideas for the renovations to the interior of the building, updates will be posted to this page. Session wants to hear ideas, so the comments section will be open under each blog update/entry.