Capital Project Is About to Begin

by Jayme Trott, Co-chair, Capital Campaign

It’s REALLY HAPPENING! The Hopewell Township Planning Board memorialized the approved UUCWC site plan and we are in the process of signing the contract with BuildPro to be our general contractor for this project!

Next, the contractor will present Hopewell Township with the architectural plans to review for building permits. While the permitting process proceeds, our staff will be reaching out to congregants for assistance with packing up offices and the kitchen and moving everything to storage. We are currently evaluating whether professional movers or storage pods will be needed.

Timeline: We expect the contract to be fully executed in the next week. Ground-breaking is anticipated in mid-May and construction should take about 6 months. The sanctuary will be accessible throughout construction, although once demolition of the church front has commenced, entrance and egress will be through the back of the building. New walkways from the parking lot addition to the stairs by the offices and to the sanctuary side door (with ramp) will be constructed early in the project.

For those who may not recall (it HAS been 5 years since we started this project, after all), the following is a partial list of the changes to expect:

• New street-level entrance to a foyer with ascending stairs to the sanctuary level, AND an ELEVATOR LIFT that ascends to the sanctuary level and descends to the lower level;
• One additional office;
• Replacement of the “storefront” windows and doors in the Crossings Room (and repair of the wall if needed);
• Addition of a small conference room attached to the Crossings Room;
• Upgrades to the kitchen; and
• New flooring: sanctuary level lobby and hall, back staircase to lower-level classrooms, lower level hallway, Crossings Room and kitchen.

Financials: So far, we have raised almost $1,100,000 in Capital Campaign pledges. Approximately 88% of that has been collected through the end of 2022. Expenses have totaled $298,952 on parking lot expansion, permits, fees, and architectural/engineering services. Pledge collections are mostly tracking according to commitments – THANK YOU!!

Our Capital Campaign Treasurer, George Faulkner confirmed with Northfield Bank that the extension and terms of our construction loan are secure through October 2023. Once we “tap into” that loan, we will be obligated to begin paying interest on it. After October, the loan will be converted to a 20-year Term Loan, initially paid from Capital funds, not from the Operational budget.

We will work with the Finance Committee to determine the optimal timing for our Phase 3 Capital Campaign, which will include a 50% match on the first $100,000 pledged! But you don’t need to wait! PLEASE, if you have not yet had a chance to contribute, consider making a capital campaign pledge or one-time contribution. We will need everyone’s participation to realize this vision in support of our goals to Create Community, Celebrate Life, and Change the World!

Capital Project plans and schematics can be found at the UUCWC website, here. This is a work in progress but should give everyone a consistent source for up-to-date information on the project as we move forward.

Jayme Trott and Susan Vigilante, Co-Chairs, Capital Campaign