To Build or Not to Build . . . .

As the FUMC explores the possible move to the APR Property. There has been information and comments showed by Church leadership and members. Here are the articles included in the monthly newsletters as well as the Building Study Report.

If you have questions or comments, please seek out Church Leadership or send an email to the Church Office at fumcoffice@fumcwinchester.org. Your email will be forwarded on to Church leadership.

From the May 2019 Newsletter:

To Build or not to Build...

After our church’s Building Study was approved by a Charge Conference on 9/19/17, a Building Committee was formed in accordance with paragraph 2544 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, with Randy Moulton as Chair.  Related to that effort, a sub-committee on Building Finance was formed in order to “develop a financial plan for defraying the cost” (PH 2544.5) of a proposed building on our Apple Pie Ridge Campus.  Essentially, the responsibilities of the sub-committee are to research, develop and recommend a comprehensive financial plan to support the Building Committee’s recommendation to the District and Congregation.
The Committee is currently comprised of the following members:
            Mark St. Amand  --  Chair
            Rev. Will White
            Adam Wilfong
            Gary Dunn
            JoEllen Smith  -- Ad Hoc / non-voting(Currently Chair of Church Council)
To date, this group has met twice and has started the process of gathering information concerning current assets and fundraising options.  Once we have gathered the necessary data, a report and recommendation will be submitted to the Building Committee for review.  Pending approval there, our report would then move to the District, and finally a Church Conference for further approvals. 
This is by no means a short term venture and although we have an excellent group of people working this issue, anyone who is interested in joining this sub- committee is welcome. As we move forward the number of tasks will continue to grow and the more people willing to help will reduce the burden on others.
If you have any questions or recommendations, contact any of the folks listed above or the Church office
Thank You
                         Mark St. Amand

From April 2019 Newsletter:

To Build or Not to Build . . . . .

As you know our church has embarked on a great effort to build a new space for worship that will better accommodate worshipers with mobility issues.  This is something that is sorely needed when the facility becomes an impediment to worshipers wanting to participate in the life of the church.  As our church currently is, for me to participate my wife and I need to bring a portable ramp and enlist the help of at least four able body men to help me up the ramp. Sometimes they have had to hoist me up the front steps.  This is dangerous for both them and me; I feel badly that I must depend on so many folks to help me get into the church every time I come to worship. 
While this has worked as a stopgap means to address the issue for worship services, it doesn’t change the fact that I cannot access the fellowship hall or restrooms.  I want to be able to easily get back to my church on a regular basis and be able to serve and take part in church activities.
I am not the only church member who is impacted by the facility’s access shortcomings; folks with accessibility issues are not always seniors – we come in all ages, sizes and genders.  While I am still hopeful that I will regain the ability to walk, I see this building campaign as an opportunity to get our church to where it can truly be a place accessible to all so we can more fully share in the life of the church and enjoy the blessings of fellowship.
Please give some thought to what your life would be like if something happened to you this week and you could not access your church next Sunday.
                                        Andy Kiser

From March 2019 Newsletter:

To Build or Not to Build . . . . .

I authored the January newsletter article with this title.  In our efforts to better keep folks in the loop, the Church Council hopes to share the thoughts and feelings some folks have expressed, and our responses are derived from the Building Study or personal experiences.  Here is a feeling that has been expressed several times:
“But we have the most beautiful cathedral sanctuary in downtown!"
Yes, FUMC’s sanctuary is beautiful!!  I first saw it as a youngster in the 60’s with my parents attending Annual Conference and at some other events of the Martinsburg and Winchester Districts when First was part of the former Evangelical United Brethren denomination.  The sanctuary is also the same architecture and floor plan as the church my dad served in Martinsburg for 19 years, so it reminds me of my home church and makes me feel I’m at home.
In looking at building vs. remodeling costs, there are other day to day expenditures to consider in our discernment of what is best for FUMC’s future and where the Lord guides us in our mission of Making Disciples of Jesus Christ.  Our utilities average nearly $2,000 per month.  Insurance costs are on the rise by several thousand dollars this year.  I wonder if the Lord feels this is the best use of our funds keeping a 100-year old building running.  Would a right-sized, less costly building that enables us to do more mission and ministry to so many others be more pleasing to Him?
Even if we could make our current building accessible for less than a million dollars, we still have a too large, old building that will require continued maintenance, incur large monthly utility bills and fits 11 cars in the parking lot.  Is our beautiful sanctuary worth this or can we minister better in another location that enables unlimited parking, complete accessibility, less maintenance costs and more frugal monthly utility bills?
I experienced a similar reality recently when it became evident that we needed to change our old vehicle for a new one – a most reluctant decision.  We loved our beautiful 15-year old, very comfortable, familiar car and did not want to part with it.  We had 200,000+ miles of family vacation memories and food and clothing distribution mission work invested in this car.  But we knew we would have less maintenance costs and be safer in a new car – one that didn’t have lots of miles and could provide the safety/security mechanisms of a newer model.  After driving our new car for a few months, we realize the safety/security features are more beneficial than we had imagined!  We don’t need to worry any more about large unexpected maintenance costs and though our new car looks different, it is also beautiful.  So, do I need to apply this same logic to FUMC about our beautiful sanctuary that feels like home?
Over the last two years, we have watched all the other downtown UMC’s (except Braddock Street) become part of a two-church charge and share a minister.  The conference could decide we need to merge with another church, and in the end, we could be forced to give up our building and merge into another church building. 
With God’s guidance, we can decide for ourselves about our future now.  Is His guidance leading us to a growing area where there are no other UMC’s within five miles, or stay and take our chances in a downtown area that has changed and become less safe?  We know from the Building Study that the four churches from other denominations who moved from downtown have all grown.
It is impressive that FUMC’s forefathers purchased the APR property for its future needs and by now we own it debt-free.  Many declining downtown churches do not have the options our forefathers have provided us.
Since purchasing these 15+ acres on Apple Pie Ridge Road over 20 years ago, the decision about building a new facility has been in the wind through the tenue of the last six permanent clergy appointments. Many changes have occurred within the church family and neighborhood, thus delaying any decision and/or changing the reasons for making the decision.
Should our decision be based on the beautiful sanctuary or our ministry to others?  What makes a church – the sanctuary or the people and its ability to minister?
                                        JoEllen Smith Church Council Chair

From January 2019 Newsletter:

To Build or Not to Build . . . . .

Since FUMCs forefathers purchased 15+ acres on Apple Pie Ridge (APR) over 20 years ago, the decision about building a new facility has been in the wind through the tenue of the last six permanent clergy appointments.  Since then many changes have occurred within the church family and neighborhood, thus delaying any decision and/or changing the reasons for making the decision.

Four years ago, a Building Study Committee commenced analysis to determine the feasibility “to build or not to build”.  This committee conducted 10 “Share the Vision” meetings with small groups of the congregation to explain their findings. 

The results of this two-year labor-intensive study was briefed to the Church Council on June 9, 2016 and they voted for the Building Study Committee to proceed with the next step of taking the study to the Winchester District’s Superintendent and Board of Church Location and Building. 

“To build or not to build” is not an independent decision by FUMC’s congregation.  There are many steps to follow within the UMC to gain the district and conference’s approval and support for any building project.  

Following the district’s review of FUMC’s Building Study, they asked that we prepare an addendum to the study with additional information addressing, “What Will We Do Differently at First UMC?” This required the entire Church Council to engage in study and goal setting to answer this question.  The resulting eight goals established have taken two years to implement and all have been accomplished, some better than others. 

Finally, the district gave us approval to move forward to the next step - a called Charge Conference conducted by the District Superintendent on September 19, 2017 and open to all members.  The favorable vote meant FUMC could establish a formal Building Committee and proceed to the next level.  This includes selecting an architect to prepare a draft drawing and estimated cost, obtain a professional assessment for the value of our current building and establish a financial plan for affordability.

The Building Committee is in the middle of this step at the present time.  The architectural drawing is completed, and the assessment will hopefully occur yet this month.  Once the Building Committee has that information and possible financial commitment from the district and other funding sources, they can develop a financial plan for a complete picture to present to you, the congregation for a vote on whether “to build or not to build”.

Since the Charge Conference vote, copies of the Building Study have been made available on the table in the back of the sanctuary for everyone read. 

In case you have not had a chance to read the Building Study, here is a summary of the findings:

Statistical Analysis:

According to U.S. Census figures, the city of Winchester has experienced 12% growth over the last 30 years. At our church’s specific location (northern end), the last 30 years have been a time of economic turmoil, with the near demise of the apple industry. Outside of the northern end, where the city’s growth is occurring, most newcomers (84%) are seniors. The rest (16%) are adults, young adults and school-aged children. The population of the city is aging, with senior citizens becoming the majority.

Within 0.9 mile of our facility, there are four other United Methodist Churches including Braddock Street, Market Street, John Mann and Wesley. Note: Since this study was prepared, three of these churches have declined in membership and are now sharing a minister as a charge of two churches. 

While the number of school-aged children and teens has grown only 2% within the city over the last three decades, it has grown 71% in Frederick County. In terms of the total population during that time, the city has grown 12%, while Frederick County has grown 51%. In 1980, both Winchester and Frederick County had only one high school each. Today, the city still has one high school, while the county has three high schools and contemplating a fourth.

There are no United Methodist Churches within 0.9 mile of our APR campus. The closest United Methodist Church, Welltown UMC, is 5.1 miles away.

Conclusion:

U.S. Census figures and population trends indicate that not only more people, but younger people (young adults, children and youth), would be better served by a facility located at our APR campus, rather than by our facility downtown. With respect to our congregation’s impact for the cause of Christ through the United Methodist Church, there are fewer United Methodist Churches within the immediate vicinity of our APR campus than downtown, and hence our denomination’s ability to reach the entire population of our extended community will be enhanced.

Accessibility:

Our current sanctuary will be 100 years in 2022. When built, no one could have imagined how important parking would become for church goers, so the parking under the church’s control today is limited to 11 spaces. Also, our downtown plant is a multi-level facility. There are no elevators, and there are insufficient ramps to accommodate persons with canes, walkers or wheelchairs. In that the percentage of senior citizens within the total population of the City of Winchester is projected to increase, this situation will become increasingly untenable. Alternatively, younger people, pushing strollers, carrying babies or leading toddlers, also face the dilemma of

many flights of stairs. The restrooms are not designed for people with handicaps, parents needing facilities to change babies or for elderly persons with limited mobility.

Making our church more accessible would require the installation of elevators and ramps and new doors throughout the building. Our bathrooms would have to be completely redesigned and rebuilt. Unfortunately, there is no cost-effective way to improve our parking downtown.

At APR, the potential first unit would be built on one level, eliminating every conceivable accessibility problem. In an era of transportation by car, the APR location also provides people easy access to the campus via Route 37, while remaining convenient for most of our existing congregants. The APR campus already has 32 paved parking spaces without further improvement. The site is mostly on grade and parking can be expanded.

Conclusion:

Accessibility problems for old and young alike would be much more easily overcome at our church’s Apple Pie Ridge campus. Furthermore, the APR property presents significantly better accessibility by car. Located along the Route 37 corridor, it provides greatly improved access to the growing portions of Winchester while remaining convenient for most of our existing folks.

Review of Downtown Churches that moved:

First Christian Church – Route 50 West:  Pre-Relocation Attendance: 71; Post-Relocation Attendance: 170+

Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church – Amherst Street:  Pre-Relocation Attendance: 250; Post-Relocation Attendance: 1,000

Winchester Church of God – Route 522 North:  Pre-Relocation Attendance: 335; Post-Relocation Attendance: 2,000+

Costs:

For this study, reputable local general contractors toured the building and prepared preliminary estimates for major renovations which would be required for our downtown facility to become fully functional, handicapped accessible, environmentally safe and more energy efficient. The estimate was not based on an Architect's design and code input, each of which could impact the scope and cost. It was based on the contractor's experience with similar renovations. In the case of HVAC systems, an HVAC subcontractor was consulted. The estimated costs for major items were as follows:

1. Hazmat (Remove VAT/Asbestos at mechanical pipe/replace VCT) ....................... $    77,194

2. ADA upgrades for 6 rest rooms ................................................................................... 155,182

3. Renovation of kitchen .................................................................................................. 169,728

4. Add elevator/with machine room and entry vestibule ................................................... 325,302

5. Replace Sanctuary Heating and Cooling system ......................................................... 314,134

6. Sanctuary lower level moisture problems allowance ....................................................... 8,488

7. General Conditions (Project Administration/management) .......................................... 152,784

8. Allowance for Design documents ................................................................................  159,150

ESTIMATED TOTAL:                                                   $ 1,361,962

The following clarifications and assumptions are applicable to the above items:

 1. Hazmat - Pricing is based on removal of approximately 11,626 square feet of vinyl asbestos flooring and removal of piping insulation located in the lower level mechanical room. Both materials are assumed to contain asbestos, but this needs to be confirmed by third party testing. This does not include lead-based paint removal which may be necessary but must also be confirmed by third party testing.

2. ADA Rest Room upgrade - Pricing is based on upgrading 6 rest rooms for ADA accessibility. These are all located in the newer education building. This includes replacing toilet fixtures, new tile flooring and 6-foot high tile wainscot, repainting, new accessible door frame and hardware, new toilet partitions, new toilet accessories and an allowance for needed cutting and patching.

3. Kitchen Renovation - Pricing includes demolition allowance, concrete floor patching (for under slab plumbing –if required), 2 new doors, partitions for storage room, new tile floor, $50,000 allowance for kitchen equipment and new stainless-steel tops, $8,500 allowance for Architectural cabinetry or shelving/counter tops, new ceiling, repainting and associated plumbing and electrical work as required for new kitchen equipment.

4. Add Elevator - Pricing reflects a new passenger style elevator (eastern courtyard side) to access all levels, new elevator machine room and new glass vestibule. It is assumed that this will require upgrading the electrical service panel to 1,000 amps (estimate) which will involve removing and replacing all the pavers in the courtyard area in order to install a new underground electrical service.

5. HVAC for Sanctuary - This includes eight (8) new gas furnace/heat pump systems including required electrical work, cutting and patching and removal of existing systems.

6. Moisture problems (Sanctuary basement) - This is an allowance. Partial demolition and investigation may be required to determine the cause of the problem.

7. General Conditions - These are contractor costs inclusive of all project administration and temporary items anticipated to com

plete the project. These were calculated based on a duration of four (4) months.

8. Design - This is an allowance for drawings and specifications needed for permitting and construction of the project.

The above costs, especially Item 2, do not include any work for the raised toilets under the sanctuary. In the contractor's opinion, it would be very expensive and is probably not feasible. The pricing also does not include removal of, and environmental work associated with the existing underground heating oil tank which is located outside the education building on the Braddock Street side, which may be considerable. It would be cost-prohibitive to realistically improve our church’s parking downtown.

Based on discussions with several area contractors, construction costs for a new building on the APR property will likely be in the range of $100 to $150 per square foot, depending upon the type of building and finishes which are selected. Based on general guidelines used for church planning purposes, we estimate the space requirements for the initial phase of the project to be 10,210 square feet. Using the higher $150 per square foot amount for calculation, gives an estimated cost of $1,531,500 to build a new building.  We believe that a single-story structure would offer the best approach, since this would result in full accessibility without the need for costly elevators, ramps, etc. 

Cost Comparison:

For an estimated cost of $1,361,962, we can have an accessible building with 11 parking spaces in a declining area of population.  The current 100-year old larger than needed building is currently using more than 25% of our church budget to maintain without any large repairs, i.e. roof, air conditioning or boiler replacements.

For an estimated cost of $1,531,500, we can have an accessible building with 32+ parking spaces in a growing area of population.  The new, right-sized building would be environmentally safe and energy efficient for more appropriate maintenance costs and minimal repair costs would be guaranteed by new construction warranties.

Most significantly, the Building Study Committee concluded that relocation is a more faithful choice. The mission with which Jesus left his followers was that of “making disciples” (Matthew 28:16-18), and this is also the mission of the United Methodist Church. With that mission as a guiding principle, church facilities and location can only be evaluated from the standpoint of the way in which they enable, or prevent, the mission of “making disciples.” The APR campus provides what we believe to be undeniable advantages for the furtherance of that mission and the future of our church.

“To build or not to build” – Make a list of your PROS and CONS!

From January 2019 Newsletter:

FUMC Building Committee Update

I have prepared this brief article to apprise the Congregation of the status of preliminary conceptual planning for the proposed multi-purpose building on our Apple Pie Ridge (APR) property.  The Building Committee has met three (3) times with representatives of Design Concepts of Winchester to present our ideas, discuss our objectives, review sketches and preliminary schematic plans and provide feedback for refinement of the plans. 
During our most recent meeting, church staff, including Helena Catapano, Melody Harmon and Allyson Allison, were present to review the plans, ask questions and provide feedback.  I am pleased to tell you that the feedback was very positive and favorable.  We are now at a point where the architect will prepare a few more preliminary elevation views and cross sections of the building for our review.  The preliminary concept plan, elevations and cross sections will be submitted to a local general contractor for development of a preliminary building construction cost.
On December 12, topographic mapping of the property was completed using drone technology which resulted a cost savings vs. traditional aerial or ground survey methods.  We will have a local civil engineer prepare a preliminary grading plan to develop an approximate cost for site work construction, i.e. excavations, fills, utility lines, pavement, etc.  We will approach a local site work contractor to provide a conservative estimate of site work costs.
As of the publication of this newsletter, we will have received an appraisal of the existing church.  After the appraisal is in hand, and we have an approximate cost for the construction, we should be in a good position to evaluate the overall feasibility of the project, including financial commitments that will be needed and estimated time to secure the funds necessary for construction.
At this time, we estimate that our work will be substantially complete early in 2019 (January or February).  I hope that this article  brings you up to date on our progress on the project.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
                     Randy Moulton , Chair, FUMC Building Committee

From November 2018 Newsletter:

Building Committee Update

The Building Committee and our church’s architect Tim Machado of Design Concepts met with Church Staff on October 18th to review the preliminary plans.

If you have any questions related to the Building Committee’s work, please contact Randy Moulton, Building Chair.

From October 2018 Newsletter:

Building Committee Update

The Building Committee met on August 21st and September 6th with our church’s  architect Tim Machado of Design Concepts for preliminary work. Preliminary design concepts are in process and in review. No plans are ready to present at this time. 
If you have any questions related to the Building Committee’s work, please contact Randy Moulton, Building Chair.

From August 2018 Newsletter:

The Building Committee had their first meeting with the Church Leaders’ approved architect on July 16th at 6:30pm.
The next meeting will be on August 21st at 6:30pm in the Sanctuary.
Look forward to Building Committee updates in next month’s newsletter.
If you have any questions, please contact Randy Moulton, Building Committee Chair.

From June 2018 Newsletter:

BUILDING COMMITTEE MESSAGE

Welcome to May, one of the prettiest times of the year when new growth is emerging and the air smells fresh and clean after a Spring rain.
Before I tell you where the Committee is in its process, I want to let you know a little about me and why I am in this position.  I'm a civil engineer and on May 15, I celebrated 40 years with Triad Engineering, Inc., something that is quite rare these days.  For about 30 of those years, I've been in a management,  administrative and leadership position.  Shortly after Brooke and I started attending church here in 1989, I took one of those tests to identify your Spiritual Gifts.  What do you think my strongest gifts were?  Administration and Leadership.  What a surprise.  I think I've probably known that all along.  Since that time, I've served on Staff Parish, Finance and Trustees here at FUMC.  Several years ago, I volunteered to Chair the Building Study Committee, and although it took longer than we wanted, we completed that work and formed a Building Committee last Fall.  I told Pastor Will at that time that I would be interested in serving on the Building Committee.  When he asked if I would be willing to chair the Committee, it didn't take long to say yes.  You see, each of us is given one or more spiritual gifts to take care of us, the body of Christ, and I truly believe that if you want to use those gifts, you will be supported by the Holy Spirit to do God's work here on earth.  That's why I am serving in this position.
Now, let me take few more minutes to explain where the Committee stands in its work.  Once again, there are apparently some rumors floating around about the Committee working in secret, behind everyone's back, and planning some huge, expensive and elaborate project for the Apple Pie Ridge property.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As I've told the congregation before, there is a very systematic process in the Discipline for planning any type of building project.  In late December, 2017, we issued a Request for Proposal to seven (7) architectural firms in the general Shenandoah Valley region.  We received proposals from six (6) of those firms, and the Committee carefully evaluated those proposals, ultimately selecting three (3) of the firms and inviting them to present their qualifications in person and answer questions.  On the basis of those presentations, the Committee selected Design Concepts of Winchester to provide preliminary conceptual planning services.  We received a draft contract, and just recently, I reviewed that contract and sent it to the other Committee members.  Once the contract is approved by the Committee, I will sign it and we'll start the process of preliminary planning, and I expect that will take several months.  We are also taking steps toward evaluating the financial aspects of  this project.  As I've mentioned before, we cannot in good conscience plan a project which no one can afford.  We are obligated to establish a reasonable budget and plan a facility according to that budget.  We have a number of other steps to complete prior to construction, and please know that the Committee will be seeking the congregation's input during many of those steps.  I promise that no one will be in the dark about this project, unless you choose to be in the dark.
If you have any questions about anything, please ask me or another member of the Building Committee.  The other members are Adam Wilfong, Cheryl Dyksen, Cole Fazenbaker, Mark Roy and Pastor Will.
We'll certainly keep you apprised of further development.
In Christ,
Randy Moulton, Chair, Building Committee

The Building Study Report was presented to

the FUMC Church Council on June 9, 2016.

Follow this link to review the entire document.