Isn’t it better to spend our money on staff?
Buildings are for people to use. The reason we want to improve our building is to facilitate better ministry to people. The new plan provides better spaces for people to hear the word of God and to interact with each other. The expectation is that the better spaces will facilitate better ministry.
Are we just trying to be more comfortable?
No. This project is not about our comfort, but about the growth of the gospel in people’s lives. We want our building to be accessible to all people, and for people to be able to interact with us and to hear the gospel without distraction and unhindered by the present limitations of our building.
How does this fit with our church’s mission?
The new building will help us to reach people around us by improving our accessibility, and our welcome. It will also present a positive impression to newcomers, and avoid the embarrassment that some members feel about aspects of our building. It will help us to build each other as we provide spaces for people to talk, and for groups and courses to meet. (Also see separate post)
How many more people will fit into the building?
This building project is not intended to increase the capacity of our building, but to improve the associated facilities. A redesigned layout of the main meeting area will however enable more people to be seated in better positions for engagement.
How much will it cost and how will we pay for it?
The cost is estimated to be between $1.5 and $2 million, depending on which optional elements are included or excluded. This is the price of a large house on a good block of land in our area.
How this would be financed is yet to be planned, but we envisage a combination of initial fundraising and borrowing.
(See separate post for more details)
What are the “optional extras”?
There are some features of the new plan that are optional. In the next phase of planning we will need to decide which of these to include in the project, and which to leave out or address in other ways. These include air-conditioning, a new playground, the length of the stairs from the yard to the foyer, and whether we should include an additional set of toilets.
Does the church have any existing debts?
No. The money we borrowed to purchase the house at 89 Wattle Road, has been fully repaid.
How much will it cost to proceed to final plans and approvals?
We anticipate that the costs of architects, independent reports for the Council, application fees, etc will be around $50,000. The good news is that this is already fully funded by a recent one-off contribution to our property fund, and another pledged to be given soon.
Will the Council Approve it?
We are confident that our plans fit within the Council’s guidelines, and that we can present a compelling case for approval. This plan does not envisage an increase in the number of people on the site, and does not change our parking area. The architect is well aware of the Building Code of Australia, and of the need to consider the impact on our neighbours.
Will we lose some of our yard?
Part of the southern end of the present yard will be covered with the new foyer/verandah. With the ability to open this verandah, it will provide a wonderful area for people to find shelter and comfort, whilst still having access to the grassed area. The new stairs will also create an amphitheatre-styled area where people can sit and talk. To compensate for the loss of some grass space, the eastern fence will be moved closer to the office building.
Will everyone have a say in the final design?
Yes. Should we decide to proceed to a detailed final design, there will be an opportunity for everyone to have input into the design process.
What about our worn and stained pews?
Our current pews will be either re-upholstered or replaced as part of this project. Once we settle on a final design, it may even be possible to see this happen immediately.
How would the church meeting area change?
The new plan has seats facing in the same direction as at present. The main change will be opening half of the rear wall to the new foyer/verandah. In addition, the plan envisages a smaller stage, new cladding for the front and rear walls, redesigned sound and lighting, closing the two sets of doors on the front wall, and constructing a new cry room.
Haven’t we just done a lot of building work?
Over the last decade we have completed some significant projects to make the most of our land and other buildings. In 2008 we purchased the house at 89 Wattle Road. In 2010 we constructed our present yard, laid the concrete paths and transformed the two old houses to become the office and ministry centre. In 2014 we completed the “toilets for all” project, upgrading our church toilets. Each of these projects was planned to provide the best value for money, making the most of the existing land and buildings. However, apart from the toilets and superficial ‘spruce ups’, little work has been done to our church building since it was opened in 1983.
How much is our building used?
Our building is used by significant numbers of people every day of the week. Along with our 5 weekend services and associated programs for children and youth, the building is also used on a regular basis by our Ladies Bible Study & Kid’s Clubs (Mondays), Playtime (Tuesdays), ESL & Bible Study Central (Wednesdays), Thursday Church & Jesus Club (Thursdays), Youth Groups (Fridays) and various small Bible Studies through the week.