Update on USG’s Elevator Project-April 2018
Presentation and Discussion this Sunday, April 29th following the worship service. All are invited.
A membership vote on the bylaws will occur immediately following the service after which we will break for coffee and refreshments. Those who would like to attend the Elevator Presentation and Discussion are invited to return to the sanctuary after grabbing a cup of coffee.
The Elevator committee began meeting approximately one year ago, at the conclusion of the capital campaign. We secured the services of an architect through a competitive bidding process. We presented our ideas to the architect, and met with him as he developed the plans that would put our ideas into reality.
We met over several months to put shape to our ideas. We received cost estimates on those plans in December 2017. The committee was surprised and dismayed to receive the cost estimates. The costs were far in excess of the amount we had raised, and above what we thought the congregation could support.
Since December we have been meeting with the architect to revise the plans and rebid various elements of the work in order to arrive at a plan we could afford and one that would meet our needs. Items have been re-bid several times, and the scope of the project has been revised.
The plan we are going forward with is different from that which we originally conceived, and which was pictured in the brochure in the capital campaign. The current plan still locates the elevator in the corner of the building at the intersection of the Sullivan wing and the Daskam Room/Committee Room corner. It includes storage for tables on all floors. Since the current archives closet will become part of the elevator addition, a new closet for the USG archives has been created using space in the Committee Room.
The elevator envisioned is a full sized ADA-compliant elevator accommodating several passengers in addition to a wheelchair passenger. The elevator will also accommodate folding tables and wheeled racks of chairs to be transported from floor to floor. The elevator will allow circulation of all people from all floors of the building, including worship space, social space and restrooms. Handicapped individuals parking in the courtyard will enter at ground level and have full access to all floors of our building. This is what we had hoped for. Using the elevator will be a safe, dignified means of navigating the building. This corner of the building, now dark and gloomy, will be generous and flooded with natural light.
Sadly, at this time, we are not able to encompass a rear entrance to the building. The addition of a back entrance adds more than one hundred thousand dollars to the cost. The floor height of the elevator addition will be several feet below grade level. In order to make an outside entrance, large scale grading would have to occur to lower the ground by several feet. In addition, construction of retaining walls, paths and lighting would be required in the grove. These factors make the project far too costly and are not attainable at present.
Construction of the elevator is in accord with our 2008 Facilities Master Plan. It would allow further capital improvements including a rear entrance if desired at a future date. It would also allow for the construction of an education wing, as contemplated in the Master plan, at a future date.
During this process we reviewed our actions to see how we came to be so far from the project we thought we could create. We reviewed how we arrived at the cost estimates we used in the fund-raising appeals. We had two cost estimates. One was developed in a feasibility study performed by the Brawer and Hauptman Architecture firm, the same one that developed USG’s master plan for facilities. They were intimately familiar with the USG building. Two congregants independently worked up an estimate. Their estimate was similar to the Brawer and Hauptman estimate. We felt we could rely on these estimates. We set the fund-raising goal at $350,000, as being an amount the congregation could achieve. Together with the $150,000 bequest from Gary Bromberg, the committee felt we could accomplish both projects, the elevator addition and the improved driveway.
In actuality, the Capital Campaign raised $365,000, $15,000 over our goal.
Conversations with our architect have shown us that our project is extremely complicated and difficult to construct. We are excavating a 30′ pit that we then must build walls around, thus creating an addition. There are no natural openings in the walls so we must cut through very thick walls. We must provide for drainage and accommodate varying roof heights. The various craftspeople must be sequenced to work over time and in a small space. It would be easier and less costly to add an elevator to the outside of a free-standing building than to insert one at USG. Unfortunately this location is the only one that will serve all three floors of our building.
Despite our disappointment with part of the project, we are happy and proud to go forward with the elevator. It is important to keep in mind that our accessibility deficiencies will be optimally met: handicap parking is in the courtyard, one gets to the elevator by the shortest route and then one can access every single part of our building. A welcoming rear entrance would enable improved use of the grove, and provide a pleasant entrance from the parking lot, but it would not supplant the courtyard entry for the disabled. It will be a very good thing for all members of the congregation and the public to be able to circulate among all the spaces in our building with ease and dignity. This was our ultimate goal and we are about to achieve it.
From The Elevator Committee:
Bill Dowdall, Chair, Linda Bernstein, Bill Blasdel, Carolyn Cotton, Charles Gabriel, John Pron, Gloria Guldager and Susan Smith
Cost and Revenue Projections
Geotechnical Survey (core samples)
|TOTAL BOTH PROJECTS
Chalice Lighters Grant (awaiting approval)
Supplemental Fund Raising