The End is In SightPosted: December 5, 2020
Something like three or more years ago I started working on the plan for a new fellowship hall for Westminster. My first job was in choosing a consultant for our Capital campaign, then with my friend Sara, chairing the major gifts committee (I think that was what it was, but hell, it was so long ago I can’t exactly remember.) It did involve having people in groups of 25-30 for dinner at our house, the same dinner, four nights out of five in a row.
Then I was on the committee to choose the building committee. I said I could be on the building committee if I was not in charge, and then I was in charge. That was two years ago. The committee started strong with seven or eight members meeting regularly as we worked with the architect and builders. Thanks to the wonderful Robert Sontolongo and Susan Straw of DTW architects.
Around August of 2019 we tore down the old fellowship hall and began the rebuilding. I will tell you that the last eighteen months have been the rainiest consecutive 18 months ever. Eventually our builders, CT Wilson got a structure out of the ground and we were on our way. Our Project manager Nish Evans, Construction Manager Red Staley and head honcho Chuck Wilson kept everything moving forward. Slowly my committee dwindled down to the ever present Nathen Swiggett, to whomI am eternally grateful for his expertise and me.
The building was scheduled to be done September 1, but thanks to Covid and mostly that record amount of rain it took an extra three months. I had to visit donors who gave speciality gifts, and calm church goers who wanted to use the building before it was done. Along the way I gave talks in church asking people to pay their Capital campaign pledges, and giving updates on the building. Chris Tuttle, our pastor and I have given video tours of the progress just to remind people that a new building was coming, even though they were not allowed on campus to see it.
I have had billions of zoom construction meetings and many walk throughs to discuss choices and designs. I even had a really bad dream last week that the foundation had been ripped out, while the building still stood. I have argued with landscapers and made people mad because of my expectations for perfection. I wore my pink “mean lady” hard hat with pride.
We have been awaiting our Certificate of Occupancy for two weeks now. We have passed every inspection and Friday, when our CO should have been issued I was told it wasn’t because the main building inspector, who has to sign off, was taking every Friday in December off. So Monday! Monday we should get a CO. And Wednesday we have our owners meeting where all the vendors for things like the industrial dishwasher and the big ass range with griddle will teach us how it all works.
Of course just because we get a CO on Monday (god willing) I still will have some clean up work, as we have parking spaces to get finished and landscape to enhance. But the furniture has been ordered. And with the expertise of Tim Vann the wifi has been run. But the end is in sight.
I am thankful for Sharon Morgan our business manager, who has taken care of all the money coming in and going out and for all the Capital Campaign donors. We still need your pledges paid off. This was a very big project, but a good one to do during Covid. I am looking forward to the official unveiling for the whole church. Of course with Covid, it will only be a few people very socially distanced at a time, but it’s a big ass space, so it will be safe.
One day when I was building my garden, Chris stopped by my house for a meeting in the driveway. I told him I was building this garden so I had something to show for Covid. He said, “You have a whole fellowship hall to show.” No, that fellowship hall belongs to everyone. When we gather together there sometime after we have all been vaccinated, I hope people feel at home there because it is a space meant for everyone. My big question is, “What can I build next?”