Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are we really going to start a building program this time? When?
A. Yes! We will begin work this June, assuming the District Board and our church approves the final plans (and we’re confident that we’ll get all the needed approvals). Our last worship service in the sanctuary this summer is the Baccalaureate service on May 31st. Preschool teachers will finish their year on June 2nd. David Baker and the Trustees, staff and ministry teams are planning to have everything moved from the sanctuary and children’ buildings in early June. We should begin renovation work in the sanctuary the week of June 8th, and pre-demolition work in the children’s buildings no later than the week of June 15th.
Aren’t we demolishing a lot of church history – what are we doing to conserve some important parts of our past?
Never fear – Mike Petree, Church Historian, is here! Mike has been working with the Building Team and with ministry teams to identify and save critical historical elements of our church campus. Mike has rescued the “old” balcony rails that were in the 20’s building, and is working with the Capital Committee and Building Committee to do something special with the two pin oaks that will have to come down beside the sanctuary. Unfortunately, some things we can’t save. For safety reasons, we can’t allow members to remove “attached” pieces from the 20’s or 50’s buildings. And given the time pressure to complete as much of the project as possible this summer, some things will happen fast and not necessarily on a prescribed schedule – we’ll be opportunistic when possible to save time and money. But if there are special memories you want to see preserved, please contact Mike, and he will work on options with the Building Committee. Given the scope and complexity of this God-sized project, we won’t be able to please everyone all the time, but I think God will be pleased with our work to “fix up” His House! We have also discussed the idea of repurposing some of the brick in the 20’s buildings for use in the new structure. Our architects and builder have told us this idea does not save money and in fact adds to the cost.
How much is this going to cost?
We’re still working on the final budget. Our Design Development estimate was up almost 10% from the original 4/30/2014 number. Most of the increase was due to 3 factors: 1) more highly developed drawings that allowed subcontractors to better understand the scope and nature of the work, 2) a longer timeline for the overall project, based on the sequencing of some of the work (instead of a little less than a year, the DD schedule is for a little more than a year – and we are trying to shorten the schedule again. For a project this size, it is necessary to have the contractor on site, and there are weekly costs for that part of the project), and 3) unplanned costs (see below for the FAQ re: cost control). The builder, architects and the building committee have been working hard since January to trim excess costs, and we think we’ll see a final budget in the $6.25- $6.4 million range. We will receive the construction budget around May 20th, and will share with the church as soon as we review it and request any needed changes. Thanks for your continued prayers during this process.
Q. How will we pay for this?
A. We will pay for this project with a combination of pledges and donations from the church family and a loan from a bank. Although the costs will be a little higher than we expected this time last year, we feel very confident that God is working out His plan through each of us. By the end of March 2015, we had raised over $3.75 million dollars in gifts and pledges for this project, and since then have received written and verbal commitments for substantially more. Thank you for stepping forward to make your initial pledges and commitment and to continue to support this important project. Please thank the Capital Campaign Committee members every time you see them for their creativity, hard work, prayers and dedication. And thank your Finance Committee, too. They have already begun the process of obtaining our construction loan (which will roll into long-term debt). The lenders we have spoken with are very impressed with the work done to date, and all are anxious to work with us. We obviously won’t know the amount of long-term debt the church will eventually incur for this project until the final pledges are paid in 2017, but the Finance committee feels we will be able to adequately service that debt.
Q. What have you done to control costs?
A. The Building Committee has kept cost awareness as a key focus from the beginning. We knew this project would grow, and we have had to limit the areas of the church that we could renovate (for example, we had to rule out addressing needs in the admin/adult education building for this project). When things have made sense, we’ve included them – from trying to ensure we have the needed space for our children’s ministries to upgrading our old wireless internet system so it wouldn’t interfere with the new system needed for all our new space. We are building and upgrading a great new house of prayer and worship, and we wanted to make sure the quality is at least comparable to what we have now in everything we are changing. But we have tried to rein in costs where we could. We pored over the most recent Design Development estimate, and identified over $200,000 in cost reductions in an effort to return the costs close to the original $6 million.
We also saw some cost increases, as the city planning board (who will provide our building permits) mandated some unplanned things – a sidewalk in front of part of the church, a new fire line and fire hydrant, and a stormwater retention bio-pond to ensure we don’t negatively affect the areas water quality. We will continue to look for ways to save throughout the construction cycle. We will have a lump sum construction management contract with Landmark, which will protect MTUMC from subcontractor and material cost increases, but which remits 100% of any savings back to the church.
Q. How long will it take once we start?
A. The Design Development timeline suggested a 56-week construction period – so about 13 months. If everything goes according to plan, we should start the building and renovation project this June, with all phases and areas completed in by July 2016 (but don’t yell at me if it extends into August ☺). We are working on a final timeline and will post it to the website as soon as it is available.
Q. Will we be safe worshipping during construction?
A. Landmark Builders has an excellent safety record - not only for their employees, and but also for their clients (that’s us!). Their safety engineers/experts will take every possible step to make sure our MTUMC members and staff are safe during construction. Steve Pfaff, a lifetime member of Mt. Tabor, is the Construction Safety Manager for Landmark and he will be on-site often during the project. Plans have already begun on how to redirect traffic to avoid the construction sites and materials. Fencing and gates will be erected to keep everyone away from the actual construction sites – which are right next to our ongoing ministries. While Landmark will take every prudent step to protect us, please be sure you and your families are careful throughout the process. Adults and children alike will be curious and want to see how things are going, but please – refrain! MTUMC has a safety responsibility at least as large as Landmark’s, and we all will need to do our part.
Q. What is our approval process to get started?
A. Wow, another multi-pronged answer coming.
City of Winston-Salem Planning Board: MTUMC (through Landmark and their civil engineer) has already received our first approval. The city planning board has approved our request to be a community church (seating over 600 worshippers at one time). As the church agreed to meet the city’s conditions (fire hydrant, sidewalk, etc.), we are now fast-tracked for grading, demolition and building permits that will soon be needed.
Internally, our Building and Finance committees/chairs need to review and approve the construction budget the week of May 18th. We have built time into the schedule for detailed review and for Landmark and Fuller to make minor revisions.
A soon as the contract is finalized, a small team (Senior Pastor, and Building, Finance and Capital committee chairs) will meet with the District Board of Church Location. Those groups met a year ago and the District Board was very excited about our project. I think they will be equally excited this year, since we have made some improvements to the building project AND have a great financial plan in place. We hope to have this meeting the week of May 25th (and yes, we realize that is Memorial Day week). Please add this to your prayer list as well.
The final approval step – YOU. We are planning to gather the church for a called Church Conference on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. We’ll share the final details and have a church vote on the project. With the support we saw last April, and with the amazing level of financial and prayer support we’ve seen over the year, I can hardly wait for that historic meeting.
Q. Where will we worship and house ministries while construction is ongoing?
A. Mark your calendars – Mt. Tabor is going mobile!
In June, our Traditional worship service will “move” into the FLC and continue worshipping at their 11:00 time slot. Current plans are for Traditional worship to resume in the like-new sanctuary by Sunday, September 20th. If we can get back on sooner, of course we will! Stay tuned.
The Higher Ground worship team will be in charge of leading the 9:00 service in June, the Ignite team will lead 9:00 in July, and the two worship teams will alternate leading services in August and September.
Sunday School classes will continue at the normal 10:00 a.m. - 10:50 a.m. time slot but rooms will likely shuffle a little bit as we accommodate our members in less space.
Q. Will the builders replace the covered walkway between the administration /adult education building and the sanctuary?
A. There are excellent cases for both replacing the walkway and for leaving it dismantled. The Building Committee recommends we keep the funds (approximately $25,000) that would be needed to replace the walkway in a reserve building account until after the project is complete. This will allow us to better see the benefits of the Welcome Center and understand the value of the walkway. The Building Committee will bring this discussion back to the church for further direction at that time.