The Executive Building Team and some of the Building Project Team members had a tour of the construction project earlier in February. The construction crew are running into quite a few questions about things they weren't expecting to find--not surprising in a 125 year old building! Not to mention the renovation that was done after the fire 30 years ago. Randy Copeland, our project manager, with help from Steve Smithers and Kathy Cranmer (yay Steve and Kathy!), is ably fielding the questions and keeping the project on track. When you see Steve or Kathy, be sure to thank them for all the work they're doing!
Here are some photos from the tour.
More photos courtesy Tom Arnold.
Or at least gives us a glimpse of days gone by. I've tried to describe what each of these photos shows - if I got it wrong, please let us know by posting in the comments.
Thanks to Steve Smithers for the photos.
These guys move fast! Demo has started in earnest at the church. Thanks to Tom Arnold for documenting the progress.
No, not the new Star Wars movie. Construction! Our own Tom Arnold was on hand to take pictures of the carpet removal. Can I get an amen? We'll try to keep you up-to-date with photos and news as construction progresses.
The city of Denver has approved our plans and issued building permits. Hip, hip, hooray! Our team will be meeting this week to finalize the construction contract with JHL. Then we'll be able to close the construction loan and get construction started.
Our Movers & Shakers group will be cleaning out the last of the stuff that needs to be moved on Saturday, Dec. 2.
We'll keep you up-to-date on when construction actually starts, but for now, we can all breathe a giant sigh of relief. We've crossed one of the biggest hurdles!
Thank you to the whole team and Randy Copeland, our project manager, for working on this. It's been a huge project and we're grateful for all you've done!
Good news! Denver has provided us comments on our building permit application, some of which are significant. They have asked for changes (not unexpected) and our architect has made revisions to the construction drawings which we hope will address Denver’s concerns and still maintain our project intact while keeping cost impacts down. We resubmitted our revised plans, and the plans have been approved by the Landmarks Commission. (The plans had to go through Landmarks again because some of the changes involved the exterior of the building.) The plans are now with the Planning Department again. We hope to hear soon!
What does this mean for our construction start? If the revised plans are approved by the Planning Department as submitted, we hope to finalize the project budget, close our construction loan and move toward the start of construction by mid to late October. As always, this is contingent on items outside of our control, including how long Denver’s review takes, any comments we may receive from Denver on the revised plans, and the speed with which we can close our construction loan after we have a building permit.
We have arranged a place to hold services when construction is taking place in our sanctuary -- Manual High School. NOT YET, though! We will still be in our sanctuary at First Unitarian until further notice. When we do begin holding services at Manual, we will be meeting for one service on Sunday mornings at 10:00am,
Manual is almost directly north of First Unitarian, at 28th Ave. and Franklin St., in the Whittier neighborhood. You can access the parking lot from Williams St. and from 26th Avenue.
Again, this is just information for future planning. At this time, we are still holding services at First Unitarian.
School starting and the fall ingathering reminds us that it is time to start another church year. With all the uncertainty in our church schedule, the building remodel and Mike’s sabbatical, there is a tendency on my part to hunker down and take a “one day at a time” attitude. But there is also opportunity in this time of chaos to take a close look at what we are doing. What are the key issues to address in our society? How can we as a church make an impact? Where do we want to be in 5 years? I do not have an answer but now is a good time for discussions.
Our Racial Justice project gave us much food for thought in their presentations over the last few months. First Unitarian has an opportunity to lead our local community in shining light on the issues of white privilege and oppression of people of color. What should we do in our own community? Do we want to change our “frame” to be more open to people of color joining us? What mechanism can we use to call attention to local issues of white privilege?
The sanctuary movement continues to need our help. Because our building is not available as sanctuary doesn’t mean the committee has stopped working. I anticipate there will be continued need for volunteers and support for the other local congregations that are protecting immigrants from deportation. I’m wondering if we can advocate for changing immigration law to a more rational system?
We have continued to sponsor homeless initiatives although our volunteers go to other churches during the construction. There have been some interesting initiatives in other cities across the U.S. Can we expand our advocacy to help Denver try some of these alternatives?
When we are out of our building we will be having church services at Manual High School. There is an opportunity to engage in the neighborhood around the school and get a new perspective on the issues that face us. There is an opportunity while Mike is on sabbatical to think about pulling in some speakers to challenge us to rethink our habits and rituals. We have a wonderful, vibrant, and engaged community. Clearly, we do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water. But maybe we do want to take time to rethink what we are doing and where we are going.
You may be wondering what the color scheme of our renovated building is going to be. Wonder no more! Below you'll find photos of color swatches for the sanctuary, bathroom, and kitchen and community room. The photos aren't great, but hopefully they'll give you an idea of what to expect.
The sanctuary colors are a bit more muted than what we currently have and were chosen to coordinate with the existing stained glass windows and oak paneling on the organ.
The colors in the basement aren't going to change substantially.