Update: Capital Improvements/Under One Roof
Our recently completed Under One Roof campaign raised funds for three capital improvement projects: roof repair/replacement, replacement of the lift at the Dewitt Park entrance, and replacement of the boiler. These projects are moving out of the planning and bidding stages, and you can expect to see construction on two of them starting soon after Easter (assuming winter is done by then). Last week we received bids from three major roofing contractors and we are in the process of evaluating how much of the roof project can be tackled with the funds available. Bids for replacement of the lift are expected within the next two weeks. And in January we received a feasibility study from Taitem Engineering which addresses our church’s heating and cooling options for both the short and longer terms.
After our successful Under One Roof capital campaign, we are all anxious to see progress on these projects. The success of our $1.5 million capital campaign was the result of your generosity as well as good advice from the Graham-Pelton consultants who helped us set an achievable campaign goal. We knew from the beginning that $1.5M would probably not pay for everything we wanted to do. We knew that priorities would need to be set once the pledge total from the campaign and the actual costs of projects were known. That is where we are now.
The bids we received for complete roof replacement all came in around $2M. This value is quite close to what our consultants at Klepper, Hahn and Hyatt suggested to us in their report a year ago. This cost is for replacement of the roof with 100-year slate and copper flashing. Switching to less expensive (and shorter lifetime) materials such as asphalt and aluminum would save us up to $300,000 in the short run, but over the 100 year lifetime of a slate and copper roof, the less expensive materials would end up costing two to three times more. From our current financial perspective, we cannot afford to replace the entire roof even using less expensive materials. The biggest cost of a roof project like this is labor and staging, not materials. Thus it is likely that we will replace the roof only on the south side of the building (where the need is greatest) and only do repairs on the north side. The Capital Improvements committee will confer with the consultants and then present recommendations to session later this month.
Construction plans for the lift replacement will be completed by Schickel Architects in the next week. At that point the project will go out to contractors for bids. Session approved funding for this project last November. Since the new lift will have a larger interior (and, therefore, a larger exterior footprint), the stairs on either side of the lift will be narrowed a bit. We have been assured that the stairs will be functional on all Sundays. New exterior wooden doors to Dewitt Park will be installed and the small interior vestibule will be removed. For anyone needing assistance during the time the lift is inoperative, a people-powered lift (i.e., several strong bodies) will be available to help.
The information we received from Taitem Engineering on future heating and cooling in the church makes it pretty clear that in the short run, the only approach that is financially feasible for us is replacement of the current boiler, probably with two smaller but much higher efficiency units. Because of the energy savings, installation of these units will likely be recovered in lower fuel savings in less than 10 years. The task that is currently before your Capital Improvements Committee is to allocate available funding from the Under One Roof campaign to the components of the three projects that have the highest priority in terms of need as well as those with best outcomes per dollar spent.
It is important to remember that, although we slightly exceeded our $1.5M goal in pledges to the Under One Roof capital campaign, we do not have all of this money in hand. Pledges will continue to be paid over the next several years. In the meantime, the Finance Committee is working on a plan to meet the cash requirements of the construction projects. This will most likely mean a low-interest loan from the national church (PCUSA), but under no circumstances will the loan be for more than the amount we anticipate receiving in pledge payments.
Finally, some of you have asked whether the $30,000 grant the church received from the NY Landmarks Preservation fund was counted as part of the $1.5M campaign total. The answer is: yes, it was. We will receive a check for $30,000 once the roof project is underway. We will all be seeing the work supported by our pledges starting very soon, the realization of a dream that started nearly five years ago. Our commitments will help to maintain our beautiful building for generations to come.
- Capital Improvements Committee