What are the current plans for the sanctuary?

Our work with the architects was put on hold last fall after the renderings were completed. Since then, our capital campaign has helped determine the size of our project, and our congregation has voted on the scope. That gives us the direction we need to begin working with the architect again on a detailed set of drawings that, God-willing, will take us through construction.

As our Building Committee begins working again with the architects, they’ll have two main things in hand: 1) the renderings presented last September, and 2) a list of the changes, comments, and ideas compiled from our members’ comments and the Building Committee meetings. Last September the estimated cost of the sanctuary addition as drawn in the renderings was $6-6.5 million. In order to move the project to the target of $5 million, we will need to cut some of the square footage. Here are the three areas that are the most likely:

  • We could leave the future fellowship hall (the room in which we currently worship) the same size as it is right now, rather than extending it. We might then also leave out the extra office space currently drawn along the fellowship hall extension.
  • We could reduce the square footage of the gathering area.
  • We could reduce the square footage of the sanctuary.

In addition, there have been many concerns about parking—regarding both the number of spots and their proximity to the sanctuary. Those and other concerns will need to be addressed. If you have suggestions, share them with Mike Shiels, our Building Committee chairman. His contact info in on the first page of this update. At this point it seems safe to say that the final building will not be the same as the renderings last fall, but will likely have many aspects that are similar.

How do we end up with a $3-3.5 million mortgage after construction?

Here’s a summary of what was presented at the voters’ meeting on July 22nd. These numbers are rounded to the nearest million for the sake of simplicity:

                  $2 million is our current mortgage

     plus      $5 million for the projected cost of our new sanctuary

equals      $7 million is the amount we need

  minus      $4 million expected in commitments made by our members

    total      $3 million is the approximate goal for our new mortgage after construction

On July 22nd our voters’ approved a final mortgage of up to $3.5 million. That extra $0.5 million recognizes that we will need to keep servicing our mortgage during construction and that we will likely need to set aside contingency funds to react to unforeseen issues that arise. In the best case scenario, our final mortgage will be closer to $3 million, but we need to allow for other possible scenarios as well.

If we don't completely pay off our current mortgage by March 2019, will that slow down the construction timeline?

The more we can pay down our current mortgage, the better our financial position to begin construction will be. If there is a balance remaining on our current mortgage when we are ready to break ground, we will likely use part of the construction loan to make the final payment. We would need to make sure in that case that our combined gifts and the construction loan would complete the building.

What if I want to revisit the commitment I made?

We know that a number details were still undecided at the beginning of May when we held our Commitment Weekend. Most significantly, we have decided to go ahead with planning a new sanctuary.

If at this time you want to revisit your commitment to “125 Years of Connecting” or if you’d like to make a new commitment, please contact Gerry Heckmann as soon as you are able. His contact info is on the first page of this update. Drop a new/revised commitment card in the church-shaped box by the display in the gathering area at St. Paul. Or, click here to complete an online commitment card. The further we move along, the more we need firm figures about the resources we can expect to have as we all work together here at St. Paul.

What about our current mortgage?

In 2004 we built our current facility at a cost of $5.3 million, including a $3.5 million mortgage with Thrivent Financial. Over the last 14 years, we’ve never missed a mortgage payment and have been able to pay down our principal balance to $2,137,569.24 as of January 31, 2018. It would be a wonderful blessing if we could expand our facility and pay off our mortgage all at the same time. Realistically, however, it looks like we will continue having a mortgage.

Our Finance Committee has been looking into options about what would happen with our current mortgage, and has been in contact with several banks about what our future mortgage could be. While no decisions have been made at this point, it seems likely that we would roll our current mortgage into a new mortgage and that lenders would be willing to give us a loan in the ballpark of the $3.5 million mortgage we have currently been maintaining. Our goal is to balance expanding our ministry with avoiding an excessive burden. If you have ideas, would like more information, or have a special interest in seeing us pay down our mortgage, talk to one of the members of our Finance Committee: Jim Buelow, Scott Filter, Dan Schmidt, or Mike Shiels.