The Long View on Cost Considerations
The Elders have discussed the need for growth in our facilities for TEN years. Those discussions have considered such wide and varied solutions as:
- modular (double-wide trailer type) classrooms
- trying to covert the present auditorium to two-stories of classroom space and adding a new auditorium “out front” (on the North side of the present building)
- buying and converting (no pun intended) the SaveRite grocery store building at Thomas Crossroads (now the Goodwill Store building)
- a one-story building focused on a biblical counseling center and offices to add counseling ministry capacity, as well as renovate office spaces to classrooms in our present building
- a two-story building, adding a larger Youth Room to #4, above
From 2007-2009, the Elders considered and priced the #2 option above; cost estimates at the time were a minimum of $1.9 Million. The cost seemed prohibitive back then. We were a smaller congregation and still had a very significant amount of mortgage debt at the time.
By the end of 2009, the pressure to increase counseling and classroom space grew to the point that we felt we really needed a practical solution. Biblical counseling sessions were being squeezed into any space available, including the utility room. By October of 2010, we were ready to present the Ministries Center Building Project (“Plan A”) to the congregation. There was a warm response and renewed determination to raise the funds to pay for it. The original cost estimate for the Plan A building, with an unfinished second floor, was $540,000.
Little did we know that the actual comprehensive costs of completing Plan A, including a needed, finished second floor would escalate the real cost of Plan A to approximately $935,000. How could it increase so much? Here are factors NOT included in the original estimate:
- pre-construction costs of survey/topographical studies
- architectural, civil and structural engineering costs
- new code and zoning/environmental requirement issues (e.g. – a required elevator approx. $80,000)
- general increase in building materials and labor costs over time
See the graph below. Getting real, complete cost figures was like jumping into icy water! We began to pray, think, and discuss afresh the basic questions:
- If we and our church prefers to worship together in a single service, how and when would we be able to do that with Plan A?
- Answer: Yes we prefer a single service. If we built Plan A, it would be quite a number of years before we could build a new auditorium.
- Is Plan A the best we can do to meet immediate and near-horizon needs?
- Answer: Probably, NO.
- Is there a solution that could meet more needs for a longer time without being cost-prohibitive?
- Answer: Maybe; but we’ll have to come up with a Plan B — BEFORE we start construction of Plan A.
- What would a Plan B look like?, and, What would a Plan B cost?
- Answer: Let’s try to be creative and come up with something; then, we’ll get it priced.
- Shouldn’t we at least get professional input into a Plan B, while the time-clock for zoning variance requests works through the system?
- Answer: YES. The zoning variance requests will take a few months; let’s get on it.
- Is it worth paying for professional planning of a Plan B to truly compare the two options?
- Answer: YES. We will always wonder “what if?”, if we don’t follow through and get solid answers.
So, here we are. Sunday morning at 9:00am, during the Sunday School hour, we’ll give more details of what Plan B looks like and what it will cost.