Mission Statement for the Building Program
To offer our very best to God by designing a distinctively Lutheran sanctuary in appearance and architecture which will aid us in sharing with all people the Biblical truths on which our Christian faith, life, and hope are founded.
Main dates looking back:
April 2017 Excel was engaged as our architect
Sept 2017 Initial site plan and renderings were presented
May 2018 St. Paul members promised $4.2 million in commitments
July 2018 We voted to move forward with sanctuary planning
Here’s a recap of what has been happening since the last update was published on September 23rd.
Building Committee Meetings with Excel
From September through December, our building committee met with our architects from Excel about every other week. The goal was to complete the design development by December 18th. We met that goal and are on track to break ground this spring if the congregation votes to move forward. See the “Future” section below for the details still to be completed.
In September announcements went out to the whole congregation asking for volunteers eager to serve on the project subcommittees. Thank you to all of you who are serving! All the hours you’ve put in the last three months have really helped bring the whole design together and have kept us on track for a spring groundbreaking. Here are the subcommittees:
Music (including the sanctuary acoustics, music area, organ reinstallation, piano, handbells, music storage layout)
Liturgical Furnishing and Artwork and Chapel (including altar/pulpit/font design, chancel design, artwork)
Kitchenette (layout, furnishings, seating)
Other Furnishings (Cry Room, Mother’s Room, gathering area, meeting room/library)
Technology (AV booth, sound system, video display, video recording, integration with other building systems)
Interior Design and Finishes
Main Changes Since the initial September 2017 Plans
The size. The voters’ meeting resolution in July 2018 set our budget at $5 million. We estimate that will allow us to build about 20,000 ft2. The design presented a year ago was 26,836 ft2 for the sanctuary expansion. We kept the sanctuary the same size and reduced the square footage in other areas to come to the current design at 20,990 ft2. An example of a space reduction is that we plan to keep the fellowship hall the same size as it is currently (where we currently worship) rather than expanding it.
The direction. The sanctuary has been rotated 90° counterclockwise so that it now faces southwest rather than northwest. This allows us to fit another parking lot to the north of the expansion. The number of close parking spots which was the single greatest concern members had with the design in fall 2017.
Design details. Among other things …
We removed the dormers from the roof, since many members felt they looked too “residential.”
We increased the height of the steeple of the bell tower.
We changed the wall configuration in the chancel to allow for a larger area for projection. The chancel step shape was altered to align with the banks of pews.
We expanded the cryroom. We reconfigured the entrances to the cryroom and mothers’ room and added a hallway to allow for easier access.
After initially removing the basement mechanicals room, in the end we decided to move and enlarge it. A access stairway was added next to the west entrance.
We carved out a dedicated area for music storage, revised the choir riser shape, and changed the side bank of pews into chairs so that area has the flexibility to accommodate different sized musical groups.
We moved the audio control booth out onto the main sanctuary floor so that the operator will have a better sense of the real sound in the space. We made the previous audio control booth into an enclosed video recording booth.
Congregation Discussion & Vote
We are ready to present the project again in more detail to the whole congregation. It’s time to discuss it together and then make the final decision about whether we go forward.
Here is the schedule:
Sunday, January 13th from 9:15-10:15am – Presentation & Open Forum
Sunday, January 20th from 9:15-10:15am – Open Forum
Sunday, January 27th at 11:45am – Voters’ Meeting
Our building committee is working on a set of recommendations for the voters’ meeting detailing what a “yes” vote would mean. We plan to distribute the recommendations on the weekend of January 20th.
Interior and exterior renderings along with the floorplan are available in the gathering area. You’re welcome to take printed copies home. Any of our Building Committee members (their names are listed in the box on the front page) would be happy to answer your questions or record your suggestions.
Details to be Finalized
If we vote “yes” to go ahead into construction, these details will be finalized:
Color palette. Colors for the paint, flooring, wood stain, etc. have yet to be picked. Note that the interior renderings show an unfished concrete floor and little variation in color for everything else. The plan is that our architect’s interior designer will provide two different palettes, to which for our interior design and finish subcommittee will then react.
Artwork for the chancel (the area where the altar, pulpit, and font are located). The current renderings show a large cross on the chancel wall and a generic block altar. Our liturgical subcommittee is investigating various options for artwork in that space and is beginning design work on the altar, pulpit, and baptismal font. The flooring will probably be light Travertine stone rather than the dark wood flooring currently in the rendering. We will have more detail hopefully in February or March.
Stained glass windows. We uncrated the stained glass windows from the church on Madison Street and are working on a plan to include them and the two windows above our current chancel into the design for the chapel.
Light fixtures. The renderings show only can lights as a basic placeholder for now. The reality is that can lights won’t work with the ceiling design, and we would like to have a lighting design that uses a variety of fixtures including pendants and sconces. We’re working with a preliminary design that will continue to be developed.
The audio & video systems. We have a preliminary plan for microphones and speakers as well as video projection and recording. Those plans would be revised if necessary and finalized.
Wish list items. When we built our current building in 2004, the sanctuary seating, artwork, and musical instruments were not included in the construction budget. Generous gifts supplied all those other things that were needed. Similarly, our plan this time is to put most of the things in those categories on a wish list. We plan to have more information about this ready to share in February or March.
Other details including, among other things: the pews & chairs, gathering area furnishings, landscaping design.
Timeline & Groundbreaking
If we vote “yes” and the final preparations progress (God-willing) as planned, here are some of the milestones coming up:
January 27 Voters’ meeting
February Local approvals
March State approvals, Shell architectural package complete
April Groundbreaking, Interiors architectural package complete
2020 We are expecting about a 10-12 month construction, which would put completion sometime in the early part of 2020.
Our project finances
The Loan is Ready
A preliminary loan agreement was prepared with the Bank of Lake Mills. This would help to secure beneficial terms upon approval by the congregation to build. (This is basically a pre-approval process to lock interest rates and particulars for potential actions.) That agreement with the Bank of Lake Mills was approved by our voters on Sunday, December 2nd. We have not committed to the mortgage yet. That depends on approval at the voters’ meeting on January 27th.
Terms: $3,031,596.00 end loan
4.9% fixed for 7 years
3 years interest only
the last 4 years with payments at 25-year amortization
We have been reaching out for preliminary bids on all the work required (glulam beams, brick work, HVAC, audio & video systems, etc.). The current estimate is $5.25 million, with $150,000 for a contingency budget for a total project cost of $5.4 million.
While the exact numbers won’t be finalized until the structure and finishes are finalized and final bids are submitted, we’re confident that we’re close and are hopeful that some of the initial bids were conservatively high and will come down some
Comparison with 2017 Estimate
In September 2017, the estimate on the sanctuary was 26,836 ft2 (not counting basement, mezzanine, or canopy) at $250/ft2 for a total of about $6.7 million. Our revised project is 20,990 ft2 (plus 2290 basement, 1143 mezzanine, and 1144 canopy) at $250.12/ft2 for a total of $5.25 million.
Operating Budget Impact
Increasing our facility will increase the cost of supporting our ministry. The last thing we need is to be building rich and ministry poor. A vote “yes” is a promise that all of us will continue to generously support God’s work here at St. Paul. Here’s a summary of our current projections of the impact of this project on our future ministry budget.
Mortgage – As of the end of 2018, our outstanding mortgage is $2,071,464. Based on the commitments we have received, it looks like we will be able to pay for about 80% of the project outright, with $1 – 1.15 million added to our mortgage. Our resulting about $3 million mortgage would be less than the $3.5 million mortgage we signed in 2004 when we moved to our current location, but it will be a be an increase from what we’re used to as our monthly payment. The reason for that is we started with larger monthly payments on the $3.5 million mortgage, but have since refinanced to a lower monthly payment. Our current payment is $13,695 per month. The new payment will be $17,554 per month.
Currently, 150 of our families have made a commitment to this project over and above their regular offerings. We are hopeful that as the project becomes a reality, more and more of our families will join in so that we can bring the mortgage impact down to as close to $0 as possible.
Our loan from April 2019-March 2021 would be interest only. Our monthly payment would be less that it is currently, but it wouldn’t disappear. The exact amount of interest will depend on whether the $4.2 million in commitment gifts come early in the three years or later (if we can apply them earlier, the total interest will be less). We estimate that we will need to support $10,000 per month in interest compared with our current $13,695 monthly payment.
Utilities & Maintenance – In estimating utilities and maintenance, we made the assumption that the addition won’t really affect the budget during construction, and that the impacts will kick in January of 2020 (Utilities, additional part time custodian, cleaning products, property insurance). We did not increase snow plowing for the first year. We estimate that the new sanctuary will cost $35,000 in utilities and maintenance for the six months of January-June 2020, increasing our property board budget from $180,000 to $215,000 for fiscal year 2019-2020. Estimated operating costs could be lowered if members of St. Paul would be interested in volunteering to clean the new sanctuary.
Note that this does not include long-term facility upkeep. We’re not expecting expensive repairs with a brand new building, but eventually our budget will need to include routine (and unexpected) upgrades and replacements.
These increases would not come all at once. We are estimating six months of increased utilities and maintenance in fiscal year 2019-2020. That would increase to a full year of utilities and maintenance in fiscal year 2020-2021. The loan we are prepared to sign is interest only for the first three years to get us through construction with the first principal & interest payment in April of 2022. In other words, we will be able to grow into our expanded ministry. However, that won’t just happen on its own. It will take all of us working together.
Our Current Operating Budget Status
On the weekend of November 11th, our church council came to the whole congregation with serious concerns about our operating budget for the current fiscal year (July 2018-June 2019).
From July through October our offerings had averaged $25,400 vs. the $27,900 needed to support our whole ministry. This resulted in a shortfall in offerings of $45,000. If this trend would have continued we would have been on course to end our current fiscal year with a shortfall of $130,000. Here is how you have responded. These are the gifts each week for our general ministry (not counting Bountiful Blessings or the new sanctuary commitments):
Our offerings from July-December 2018 now totals $793,950 which is $40k above our budgeted weekly need of $27,900.
As of 12/31/2018, 150 families have made commitments to give $4,207,095 toward this work over the three years from August 2018-July 2021. In addition, there is about $60,000 available from previous “Phase 2” funds. We also need to keep supporting our ongoing ministry. Let’s all work together to complete the work we said we would do! Here is a snapshot of where we’re at so far. Bountiful Blessings are gifts given toward mortgage repayment.
“Building Connections” gifts through 12/31: $274,967
12/31/2018 building account balance: $235,978
“Bountiful Blessings” gifts in Sept-Dec: $51,221
($13,695 needed each month)
12/31 “Bountiful Blessings account balance: $96,462