Our new Pew Chairs and Kneelers arrived Tuesday morning from Sauder Manufacturing in Michigan. A team of volunteers, staff, and school students unloaded the chairs and kneelers from the truck, carried them into the church, placed them in rows and put the kneelers on.
The chairs are built of solid birch wood, stained to blend with the woodwork in the church. The kneelers fold down from the back of each chair and are detachable. They are padded with durable foam, and upholstered in a long-lasting red fabric. Each chair has a book rack under the seat, with room for prayer books, hymnals and visitor cards.
Additionally, George Alderete, who has been rebuilding our pulpit, added steps to the pulpit this week; our priests will now be able to get into it safely for preaching. Refinishing of the pulpit will happen during Church Restoration.
The Church Restoration Committee received preliminary estimates of the cost of restoration. We have contracted with Merriman Holt Powell (MHP), our master plan architects, to proceed from the concept to the design phase of the project, during which they will develop detailed construction documents and work closely with Tellepsen, our construction contractor, to prepare for construction and get the required permits.
We anticipate the design phase will take approximately six months before construction can begin; we further anticipate that construction itself will take 6 to 8 months. (This timeline is not yet firm!).
We continue to work on obtaining FEMA reimbursement; we are making progress, but do not yet have firm numbers on the level of help we expect to receive from them. Our diocese has offered us a generous grant to assist with reconstruction and to support our budget during the recovery period; we completed the grant application and hope to have that funding in the near future.
We don’t yet know what level of support we will seek from a capital campaign, but our campaign committee, which includes church representatives, is working with our capital campaign consultant, Wendy Ruiz, to include that in a joint church/school campaign.
Finally, we expect to demolish the old elementary school, middle school, kindergarten, and Scottish Arts buildings this summer. Fencing will go up as soon as school is out, and we hope to begin demolition after that, pending FEMA clearance. During actual demolition, to ensure safety, most activities will be held on the Scotland Yard temporary campus. This will not affect Sunday services.
Here are some pictures of the chairs as they arrived: