Update from the Team – April 13, 2016
April 13, 2016
Beloved Congregation Members—
As one chapter ends, another chapter begins……
We are ready once again to begin an exciting phase of our campus renovation project. Closure has been completed with our prior Architect and Contractor, we’ve got an important revelation to share with the congregation, and we’ve found a wonderful contractor to guide us through a design / build process.
Back in December we shared that we were terminating our contract with our Architect and Contractor. Estimates repeatedly came in much higher than our budget and it was clear they were not going to be able to lead us through this effort. Plans at this stage included a new building, renovation in portions of our campus, and portions of our enrichment center left untouched with significant needs left unresolved, which in hindsight seems wasteful and inconsistent with our values.
At this point, final invoices for the Architect and Contractor have been submitted and paid. In addition, we’ve received all deliverables from the Architect – including digital versions of our project. We are pleased to have resolved this in a manner we feel was fair to all.
As we looked forward, a lot of work went into a revised “Request for Proposal” (RFP). In all, RFPs were sent to nine contractors. Five contractors came for site visits, and three contractors came in for interviews. These interviews occurred at the beginning of March and while we were very pleased with the results, we were also saddened by what was shared with us.
During these interviews an important – and difficult – revelation arose as we engaged with all three contractors. They were all clear that a renovation is possible and our campus has wonderful potential with our budget. They were also very clear that a new building was not possible – there is simply not enough budget to build a new building, renovate existing buildings properly, and move the road. This was difficult and painful for us to hear – we are still working through letting go of this possibility as a team. We want to share this important news with everyone, knowing that we will all have to work through this together.
Most importantly to the team, a wonderful new relationship came together during this process – and their name is M Paul. We are happy to report that we have found a gem of a contractor to work with. They have a clear vision to fully utilize the potential of our existing campus and all the good work done by those who came before us. Here’s some items that really stand out with M Paul:
- They have a great team with everyone participating and providing ideas. They were represented by two women and two men – we loved that.
- They had clearly thought through our RFP and already had great ideas at the interview stage. They were very thorough and answered all our questions
- They excel in and are knowledgeable on design build processes.
- They’ve already been to a couple of our services – with their children – as part of their effort to learn more about us, our values, our needs, and to learn why this project is so important to us.
- They are in process of doing a deep listening check to better understand our vision and needs. They use a process called “Highest & Best Use” – something that we need to get the most out of our budget. They fully understand what our budget is and won’t be making recommendations we cannot afford.
- They are experienced, organized, excel in their communications, speak candidly, and have shown good leadership so far.
- A letter of intent has been signed by both parties. They swarmed our campus during the last week of March with their go to sub-contractors. They thoroughly went through our buildings and walked the campus grounds. There was a more intense presence on campus for our project on this one day than all prior days with previous efforts.
- Through the course of our first two meetings, M Paul sees great things coming together with a thorough renovation of Gore Hall and all of the Enrichment Center, repurposing the space to meet all our needs as outlined in the RFP. Their ideas include transforming our campus by relocating the road and creating a beautiful outdoor community space between the Enrichment Center and the Sanctuary.
So, after this necessary pause and reflection, we are ready once again ready to move our Building the Dream forward. Here’s two key things the BTD team wants to highlight:
- The congregation’s amazing response with the Capital Campaign positions us well. We’ve raised $1.38M giving us great potential.
- Our vision remains strong and M Paul is in sync with this. They know and want to help us unify our campus, enhance our children’s program, and renovate our campus to be a beacon of liberal religion in Central Florida. They are very excited and have great ideas in how to fully utilize our entire campus.
We are all excited about what we’re hearing from M Paul and we’re all also still processing through this major change in our plans. We are embracing the completeness of this new vision which fully utilizes all we already possess in a conscientious and thoughtful way and hope you will too. We appreciate the congregation’s patience as we work through these challenges and take these next steps.
Please look for more communications and meetings as we gather momentum. Our next monthly update will be on Sunday, April 17 at 12:30 in the library. Representatives from M Paul will join us. In the meantime, feel free to send us an email email@example.com – we love hearing from you!