1. Why are we embarking on a building project and when did we begin this process?
Initially, as the leadership was observing the dramatic growth in Trinity as early as 2016, we felt it was time to consider an expansion of our facilities, to better serve the needs of the congregation and our community. In the meantime, and quite unexpectedly, we discovered the serious deterioration of our portables, that were used when we first got them and which the church has been using for nearly 15 years. So, the combination of the need to expand and the sudden loss of our previously used buildings have made this project necessary.
2. How have the congregation and staff helped to shape this project?
- Soon after our initial discussion about the possibility of a building project, we held a Town Hall meeting to find out if the congregation would be warm to this possibility. Seeing that the congregation was enthusiastic about the possibility, we began to hold discussions with small groups of congregation members, to gain input and answer initial questions.
- A Building team was formed, consisting of several church members who possess construction and architectural background, to begin to discuss what the church’s needs could be. After looking at previous “master plan” designs from the past, the location and scope of the project was determined.
- After an interview process, that involved at least 4 possible architects/contractors, we decided to employ Mike Panetta to draw up an initial design. That design was formed based on the perceived needs of the congregation - both current and future - and with the input of the Hope N Play Staff, the church staff, and the Leadership of the church.
- We will continue to employ Town Hall meetings, as well as written communication and smaller group discussion, to keep the congregation both informed of the process and to allow for dialogue and input as we move forward.
3. Is this building part of a Master Plan for the property?
- Yes. As stated above, the decisions about this project were made after serious consideration of not only the current and future needs of the church, but also how this building would fit in the overall development of the property. We also took into consideration the proposed construction of homes in our area and the placement of the new building so that it will have the best location on our property and not unduly encumber other projects/activities at Hope, such as Experience Bethlehem.
- In addition, after careful consideration, it was decided, by the leadership and the conversations with the congregation, that educational space was the primary need, as opposed to a sanctuary or a separate fellowship hall/kitchen. Those are part of the overall Master Plan, but they would not solve the most pressing needs of the church at this time.
4. What does the design of the building enable us to do?
- The current design includes a potential expansion of our pre-school (Hope N Play) on the first floor level. The second story will include office space for the staff, a youth room, and several generic, multi-use rooms for adult small groups/bible studies.
- This expansion will help us fulfill our Vision of growing in discipleship and serving the community around us. It will also allow us to expand our Preschool (planned for the first floor), add staff offices, a dedicated youth room, and several meeting/classrooms for adult education, ministry team meetings, church committee meetings and social events. The current proposed configuration is based upon a broad base of input regarding what is needed to move us forward on our vision. In addition, it will help us to reconfigure the current room use in the present facility.
5. How will the rooms be used in the new building?
- Based on the current design, the first level will be primarily used for Hope N Play, during the week. As we have done in the past, the rooms will be available for dual use with our children’s ministry programs, as needed. The second story will provide office space, a youth room, and 6-7 generic classrooms, which will be used for adult study groups. Part of the design process focused on how we can expand our Hope N Play program by providing more space for classes (using the current and new space) in order to expand both the hours we provide during the day for pre-school opportunities, as well as provide much needed youth and adult spaces.
- Hope N Play is also a revenue generating ministry of the church, and with the expansion of the program (both the number of rooms that could be used, as well as expanded hours). Hope N Play is a self-sufficient program that also provides income for the church, after their expenses, so the added income from the expansion of the program would help underwrite the cost of the new building.
6. What do we currently owe on the present structure?
- We currently owe approximately $68,000 dollars on our present building mortgage. We recently hired an external company to assess both current and future improvement/repair needs at a cost of $170,000 and we are considering strategies to cover this need outside the building campaign.
7. How will the completion of the new building impact our operating budget?
- As can be expected, with an increase in physical space, our operational costs will increase (mortgage, electricity, custodial, etc.). Though an exact number cannot be determined, a generally universal estimate of 10-15% increase over our current costs is reasonable. (About $80,000 per year)
8. How long do we anticipate for construction to be completed?
- It is estimated that the current design (assuming there are no major changes) will take 18-24 months to complete.
9. How will the construction be financed?
- Typically a construction loan is acquired and upon completion of the building, the church then begins to pay the mortgage and additional operating expenses.
- We are asking the congregation to commit to a 5 year pledge towards this project. That will provide us with some giving to be placed in reserve (during the construction phase) prior to the official opening of the building, as well as provide evidence to the loaning institution of our intention and capability to support this project.
- Our desire is to have either raised or pledged 70-80% of the total cost. For illustrative purposes, if the total cost = $2.5 million, 80% = 2 million dollars. Divided by 5 years, that would equal a pledged amount of $400,000 each year. We currently have 220 giving units/families - those who give regularly to Hope. If each giving unit/family pledged an additional $1,818 per year ($151 per month or $35 per week), we would reach that goal.
- Our current facility is mortgaged through the Florida United Methodist Development Fund. We will examine both what they can offer us as well as other lending institutions to acquire the best rate and amenities available to us.
10. How will additional parking needs be addressed as the congregation grows?
- Some additional paved parking will be included in the construction of the new building. As a church, we are allowed to have a good percentage of our parking on natural surfaces (grass) and will expand some parking to the north side of the new building.
11. How will storage needs be met by the new building?
- Part of the design of the new building includes some additional space for storage. Items that are currently being stored offsite/sheds will be potentially housed in the new building, in their respective rooms (for example, offsite storage of staff items and records that are currently offsite, due to the loss of the portables, will be housed in their appropriate offices). There is also room for additional items that may be specific to the new building (chairs, tables, carts, etc.).
12. Is there a plan for ‘short-term’ meeting space?
- We have had discussions about temporary buildings being provided during the construction phase, but have decided that the costs involved make those options prohibitive. Part of our strategy for interim space is to find ways to meet, such as in homes or in our community - for example, a small group meeting in a restaurant or similar location. This reduces any additional costs and also places us in the ‘traffic areas’ of our community, which may also serve as a way to reach others.
13. Has the building project been approved by the District or the UMC?
- We have had some discussions with the District Development team and will present our plans to that committee, once we have made any final changes in the building (if needed), as well as our plan to finance the project and the congregation’s expressed ability to underwrite this project.
14. Who will give supervision to the construction on the building?
- As mentioned above, the Building team will remain in place to give oversight to the construction phase. The contractor is required to direct the project, and our team will work worth them in that effort, throughout the construction phase. Once we have raised what we feel is enough money/support to go forward, we will determine, with the help of the architect, the construction company that will do the work. Benchmarks/project milestones will be developed in order to keep the project “on time”, with the realization that some delays may occur, though we will seek to reasonably avoid them.
15. Are we considering any improvements or changes to our current facility?
- As stated in #2 above, we have an assessment regarding the needed improvements/areas of impending repair to our current facility, which we will seek to remedy in ways separate from the new building project. We do not have any plans to significantly change the layout or function of our current facility, only to replace items like the carpeting and chairs in the sanctuary, paint the interior/exterior, etc. In the meantime, with these improvements, we will continue to do our best to provide discipleship opportunities in the space we have, as well as encourage group meetings in homes and in locations in our community.
16. How will we maintain our current operational needs during this phase?
- It is imperative, as we have stated from the very beginning, that continued support of our operational needs, as well as support of the building campaign commitment will be crucial for us to provide this expansion. We must maintain our operating budget while also giving above and beyond to the building project.
17. How will the congregation be kept informed of the progress?
- We have formed a building campaign team that will be responsible for communicating our process on this project through its entirety, employing various means of communication as well.
18. What will the total cost be for the new building?
- With construction, fixtures, furniture, and equipment, the total cost is estimated to be around $2.5 million. That cost is based on current construction costs and may vary slightly due to changes in the market prices of construction materials (Concrete, metal, etc.), labor costs, etc.
19. How can I help?
- First, please pray for this project, the in leadership of this endeavor, and for our entire congregation. Our primary desire is to please God in all that we are doing, remaining open to God’s leading.
- Second, prayerfully seek how you can financially support this effort.
- Lastly, invite others into the work we are doing here at Hope, as this will be an exciting time in the life of our church!