Construction On A New Welcome Center
A Vision For Connection...
As the final phase of the Vitalize campaign, we've broken ground on the Welcome Center we've been planning for our church. With our new parking lot across Lee Street, easily 90% of our foot traffic enters the building through the playground entrance. By taking out an interior wall, and renovating and repurposing the Central Conference Room, we will transform this most high-traffic area of our church into a place where visitors and guests can make connection, and which can be used throughout the week as a hub of relationship-building among students, staff, parishioners, preschool parents, etc. It will offer a hospitable space with a café-like vibe, and will open out to a new patio in the playground area. During the week, people can share a meal or coffee in a relaxing atmosphere. Preschool parents can connect during warm-weather playdates. Staff members can meet-up over lunch. On Sundays, newcomers can drop in after worship for coffee and to learn more about who we are. During the warmer months, post-worship hospitality can spill over into the playground area.
Expanding The Vision...
At the end of this eight-week construction project, we're seeking to create a space which will better serve our disciple-making mission--inspiring our people to invite friends to "come and see," and warming our facility such that others desire to "connect with God and the journey of faith." Our aim is to have it finished in time for Easter! We appreciate your financial support, as well as your flexibility during construction. If you’re interested in helping to support this effort, visit the Give tab, and earmark your gift for “Vitalize.” Thank you!
Additional FAQs About Construction
Answers to frequently asked questions from members of our church.
How will the Welcome Center be used?
There are many, many ways we envision this aiding our mission, including:
- Making better first impressions for visitors and guests.
- During the Connection Points in worship, an announcer will invite guests to come by the Welcome Center after worship to receive a free gift, and make a connection with the announcer.
- Providing a convenient place for informational tables, sign-ups and/or sales.
- Space for informal gatherings over lunch or coffee during the week.
- Something of a “break room” for staff during the weekdays.
- Informal meeting space for groups during the week.
- Preschool parent “play dates”.
- A simple display with information about church ministries.
- An iPad stand for signing up for ministries, kids registered for events, etc.
- Post-worship fellowship—including, during warmer months, overflowing into patio and playground area.
How did this project come about?
In early 2021, as our church was anticipating reopening the building amid the Covid pandemic, a group of church leaders walked through and around our facilities, praying and dreaming about how we might open once more to the wider community. We were pondering, “How might we make our facilities better express the welcome of Christ?” From this initial meeting, several key improvement priorities were identified and adopted by the Church Council, and the Stewardship Team was empowered to raise funds for these through the Vitalize campaign (Fall 2021). Despite another Covid wave leading to another shut down, many group and one-on-one meetings happened through the months of the campaign. Through 2022 and 2023, our people gave to the Vitalize Fund, even as many of the other Vitalize projects were completed. In August 2023, it became clear that the Central Conference Room looked feasible, and communication began with groups who used the Central Conference Room. The Church St. Leadership Team, as well as Finance Committee, reviewed the plans once more in November and December. A final approval for the funding plan was made by the BUMC Cross-Campus Partnership in December.
Who is doing the construction, and how long will it take?
Snyder & Associates began their work on January 16. They anticipate an eight-week schedule to completion. Assuming no major weather or other delays, the project should be finished by the end of March, in time for Easter. Construction will occur Monday through Fridays from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, with occasional Saturdays scheduled when needed to make up for lost time.
Who from the church is responsible for working with the contractor?
Tom Gabbard is coordinating the work on behalf of our Board of Trustees and the Church St Property Team. Lynn Everett is facilitating the work with the interior designers. Our Facilities Manager, Charlie Gray, works with the contractor’s project manager on day-to-day issues.
What impacts will the construction make on accessibility on our Church St campus?
The gravel parking by the Annex will be used as a construction staging area; therefore no parking there for the duration of construction. The contractors will keep the smaller church parking lot near the playground free between 9 am and 1 pm to accommodate the preschool. Chain-linked fencing will be installed to keep children in the playground out of the exterior construction area (where the patio will be constructed). This will include adding a temporary new entrance to the playground area closer to the maple tree by the parking lot. Inside the building, the contractors will put a plastic temporary wall to keep dust down inside the building. Other than a few days when running a drain line across the hallway, the hallway between the main entrance and the offices and sanctuary will be accessible.
What is the cost, and who is paying for this?
The anticipated cost is $200,000 (including interior furnishings). This project was a part of the Vitalize fundraising campaign (2022-23). The people of our church have contributed to this Vitalize fund for this and other projects. As of January, the Vitalize fund balance is $154,000. While we have a line of credit available to us through our bank, we feel certain that the remaining $46,000 needed to fund the project will be given through the generosity of our members. No funds from other sources are being used for this project. Please consider making a gift to support this through our online giving, or the weekly offerings in worship.
How will the room be furnished?
The Commercial Design Team is working hard to create a design and layout that will accentuate and honor the stained glass windows in our space. The space is designed to be flexible and inviting. There will be small tables and chairs for seating, work areas and stations, as well as more permanent seating and gathering areas. In total, the space should comfortably seat around 22 people. The furniture will be waterproof, stain resistant and durable. The space will also feature a coffee bar and wet sink. One door will lead to the outside patio area to maximize space to gather.
Who do I contact with further questions?
Tom Gabbard, Vitalize Project Coordinator
Lynn Everett, Stewardship Team Leader
My group met in the old Central Conference Room. Where will we now meet?
Please contact Stacy Marks in the Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to schedule room use. There are two different scenarios—each with different options for groups who previously used the central conference room:
When the preschool is in session (most weekday mornings):
When the preschool is in session (most weekday mornings):
- The small side of Whisner (groups of 12 to 25)
- The large side of Whisner (groups of 12 to 50)
- Kite Chapel, which is being set up as a meeting space (groups of up to 12)
- The Annex meeting room (groups of up to 25)
- The Family Room at edges (groups of 4 to 10)
- The Downstairs at edges (groups of up to 25)
- The choir room (groups of up to 12)
- Rm 112, which the Journey Class uses
- Rm 201, which the Logos Class uses
- Rms 202/203, which the Koinonia Class uses
- Rm 210, which the Gunnar Teilmann Class uses