The new architecture firm, Kerns Group Architects, is swiftly refining our drawings and integrating their new ideas into the project. We have been very impressed with their careful listening and quick turn around. I think a few of the most impressive changes include the addition of a distinct school entrance and a richer incorporation of our existing architectural details, most notably highlighting the ascension window and pitch of the church, and a more cost effective and accessible location for the elevator to serve both church and school. We continue to grow more excited with each revision and cannot wait to share the final schematics with all of you later this fall.
Carson Ashley, our civil engineering firm is completing their survey work and we are preparing to engage the town and neighborhood in the coming months. We have also met with several contractors and expect to select a firm within the next month. Having a construction firm on board early will allow them to be more fully involved in the design and value engineering and should also minimize unforeseen costs down the road.
While this journey has not been a straight line, it has been the course we needed to take. When we think back on the four years that have led to this point we often remark on how much construction has already taken place. We have built the relationship between church and school to unprecedented understanding, trust, and support. We have clarified the vision and scope of our school. We have secured additional property to allow adequate recreation space for church and school. We have put the church and school on the strong financial footing to take this leap of faith. Finally, we have taken the care and attention needed to ask questions, to study, examine and reexamine to ensure that the final result will enable the ministry of Saint James’ to thrive well into the future.
As happens in summertime, the CONNECTED campaign has eased a bit. The school’s summer recess has limited the effectiveness of tours, coordinating schedules is complicated by travel, and the leadership has focused much needed attention on the above project details. But rest assured we are gearing up for the fall. We recently held our “half-time ” meeting where we evaluated where we stood at the halfway juncture in the campaign. We currently have raised OVER $1.5 million toward our goal of $2.245 million. This represents 68.5% of our goal. Another exciting finding from that meeting is that based on our current fundraising we are on target to hit and even exceed our goal, which is a great considering we anticipate costs above our target goal. Know that the vestry has studied our current resources, and without invading the corpus of our endowment is confident that we can see this project to completion. To that end, the vestry has committed to move forward with the project and finance the difference between our fundraising total and the overall cost up to $2.8 million. Additionally, the school board is evaluating how Saint James’ Episcopal School can begin to fund critical items outside the initial scope of the project for the new building.
The generosity of Tom Moore’s bequest gifting the initial $500,000 to begin our capital campaign has been integral in the campaign’s success thus far. To carry on his generosity and commitment to the future of Saint James’, an additional goal was established to raise at least $500,000 in planned gifts in this campaign. Over the coming months, we will be increasing the community’s awareness of the different ways to make planned gifts, encouraging parishioners to consider these opportunities, and asking the congregation to make the leadership aware so that we can responsibly prepare for the future.
Finally, the answer to the question many of you are asking…. “When am I going to be asked to make a pledge to the campaign?” Due to the additional design work and deferred ground breaking (from early Spring to Summer of 2017 with full occupancy of renovated and expanded space by Fall of 2018 ) we will extend our silent phase through early 2017 and will be asking for commitments from the larger church and school community in the spring of 2017. However, please know if you are ready to make a commitment or would like to learn more/experience a tour, you are welcome to contact me or Stacey Irvin. We would be very happy to meet with you. We are excited for the opportunity to share the many ways the Saint James’ community touches the lives of others and how your generosity will shape the future for generations to come.