First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood | The Community Church | 120 East Swissvale Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15218 | 412-241-4613
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.
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.