Buildings & Grounds

The Committee has worked closely over the past year with Donham Sweeney Architects to design improvements to the Parish House and Rectory. In August and September of 2007, parish program leaders were asked about their space use needs in the Parish House. Several design alternatives were produced for both the Parish House and Rectory. The Building Committee conducted special meetings on the Parish House and Rectory designs, including walk-throughs of both the Parish House and Rectory so parishioners can see their current conditions and soliciting suggestions for improving the designs for both facilities that were included in further design iterations.


Based on continued refinement of the designs in early 2008, the overall estimate for the project was $1.45 million for the renovation of the interiors of the buildings and $150,000 for masonry repairs and landscaping outside. The Vestry authorized the Building Committee in June 2008 to begin the detailed design under the condition that expenditures would not exceed the estimates.


Masonry repairs and landscaping started in September 2008 and are now almost complete. The architects produced schematic and the detailed construction documents for both the Parish House and Rectory with the plan to go out to bid in mid-December.

By November, it became clear that the financial crisis that has engulfed the nation had precipitously reduced the endowment by almost $1 million dollars from the time the Vestry authorized the project. Recognizing that conditions had changed since the first authorization in June, the Building Committee went to the Vestry on November 25, 2008 to present several approaches, ranging from continuing the full project to postponing the project. After careful deliberation, the Vestry authorized $1.1 million for the project that would include improvements for both the Parish House and Rectory.


Since then the committee has worked closely with the Vestry to keep the mission-based goals for our renovations, while adjusting to the to $1.1 million. We have kept the plans for the renovation of the Rectory essentially unchanged. We have endeavored to achieve the key goals for the Parish House but are now attempting to do so without much in the way of changes to room configuration.


We are also working with the leaders of the Capital Campaign to ensure that the most keenly felt renovation goals are being met and have even discussed the idea that there may even be some possibilities for increases in giving. This is helpful, since the now-reduced endowment is both a source for a significant percentage of the renovation cost and a significant percentage of our annual operating budget. See the section below on the budgeting for the renovations.


The renovations scope: the Rectory

After considering a series of options for the Rectory, the Building Committee and the Vestry decided on a renovation which creates a rental 2-bedroom apartment of about 1,000 square feet in the rear of the building. The remaining size for the rectory is generous, approximately 3,500 square feet with five bedrooms. The principal architectural features of the interior, including the grand stair, the historical rector's study and 4 of the 5 fireplaces remain. The kitchen and bathrooms are to be completely redone. The rental unit and the rectory both get additional storage space in the basement. Even in the face of needing to reduce the overall project budget, we decided the scope of work in the rectory should remain essentially on course, primarily because the income from the 2 bedroom apartment will help pay for a significant part of the Rectory's renovations.


The renovations scope: the Parish House

The scope for the Parish House has been revised. We have settled upon a scope of work which aims to accomplish most of the programmatic goals-but does so at a significantly reduced estimated construction cost (approximately $200,000 instead of $600,000). The principal savings are being achieved by not reconfiguring rooms and by accepting continued use of the existing heating system.

The following summarizes what we are doing within the reduced budget:

  • Renovate the:
    • Lower Level with new finishes and new ventilation to have nicer Sunday School areas,
    • Kitchen to support the hospitality activities,
    • Middle Room, including new finishes and replacing cluttered storage with neat storage to better support the Food Pantry,
    • Choir Room, including removing the tiered stands,
    • Great Hall, including the removal of the peeling plaster and adding heat and improving the acoustics,
    • Offices: keeping the room configurations but providing new finishes,
    • Bathrooms: depending on success with bidding either (a) keeping the configuration but improving the finishes, or (b) at a greater cost: enlarging the men's bathroom (by taking out the "robery" that is attached to the rector's office) so it can become handicap accessible,
  • Upgrade some electrical and put in a new fire alarm system, and
  • Install storm windows which will help with energy efficiency and comfort.

We believe that although the reconfiguration of rooms that we had planned before the financial downturn was beneficial, we can actually accomplish most of our programmatic mission without much change in the room configuration. Also, although it would have been nice to have an all-new heating system with air conditioning for the offices, the existing system has some useful life left on it. We will address the most egregious problems: the poor ventilation in the Sunday School and the inadequate heat in the Great Hall.

At times such as we are going through, it is essential to be clear about those things which we really feel are necessary to the mission of the Church. We feel that the choices being made represent responsible stewardship of our buildings, our financial resources, and most importantly our mission and faith.


The Building Committee is staying in close communication with the Vestry as we proceed. We will be getting bids in February 2009 that include some options, so that we will have a final chance to adjust the scope in response to how well the pricing comes in and how the Church's overall finances are doing. We look forward to a discussion with the Parish at the Annual Meeting, which will be a chance to review (and hopefully confirm) the overall approach.


Current Schedule

Below is the current schedule as of 1-5-09. Construction is estimated to start with the Parish House in mid-March. The initial focus will be on all of the work downstairs, which is estimated to last six weeks. Clinton Path will be relocated to the Rectory during this phase of the construction project. As soon as they can be moved back, work will start on the Rectory in parallel with the first floor of the Parish Hall.


Based on the schedule below, It isanticipated that the work in the Parish House will be complete by the end of June 2009 and the Rectory will be complete by the end of August 2009, hopefully in time for the new Rector to move in.



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