Capital Campaign FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BUILDING

Q:  Why are we embarking on a building project?

Q:  When did we begin working on this project?

Q:  How have the congregation and staff helped to shape the building project?

Q:  Who is the architect?

Q:  Are we preserving the historical character of the campus (church grounds)?

Q:  Has the building project Master Plan been approved by Session?

Q:  Has the Master Plan been endorsed by the congregation?

Q: What is a Master Plan and how is it used?

Q:  Does the Fredericksburg Architectural Review Board (ARB) need to approve our Master Plan?

Q:  What are the major areas affected in the Master Plan?

Q:  How is wheelchair accessibility provided in the Sanctuary? Will the pew boxes be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs?

Q:  How will the Gathering Hall and Fellowship Hall complement each other?

Q:  Do the Gathering Hall and the New Education Building Entrance connect?

Q:  Will all areas of the campus be wheelchair accessible?

Q:  Are we implementing Sustainable (Green) Technologies?

Q:  Do the campus improvements include a Memorial Garden?

Q:  Are we considering improvements to the Rear Entrance to Undercroft?

Q:  Are we preserving the Elm tree on Charles Street?

Q:  Is there a way to connect the Hanover House to the rest of the campus?

Q:  How will the Hanover House be used?

Q:  Where will the new kitchen be located and will it be larger than the existing kitchen?

Q:  How will people unfamiliar with the church grounds be led to find the new spaces (e.g., visual access to the Gathering Hall from the Sanctuary front)?

Q:  Will the Gathering Hall be a place where members can learn more about upcoming church events and sign up to volunteer?

Q:  Why doesn’t the Sanctuary elevator stop at the balcony?

Q:  How is parking being addressed?

Q:  The Manse is forgoing its garage.  Are the residents okay with that?

Q:  Is there a proposed budget?

Q:  Are there options for phasing?

Q:  How long will the building project take?

Q:  Will the parking lot be visible (via glass) from the New Education Building Entrance for easy pick-up/drop-off?

Q:  Will the renovated Fellowship Hall be bigger than the current one?

Q:  Will there be an increase in the number of classrooms available for Christian Education?

Q:  How will we maintain our normal operations during construction?

Q:  When will we learn more about the details of the design?

Q:  Will neighbors be kept informed of our progress?

Q:  How will the congregation keep informed of the building project’s progress?

Q:  How can I be sure that the architect will consider our church’s unique needs and requirements?

Q:  Can I help?

Q:  Why are we embarking on a building project?

A:  God has called us to be on the forefront of serving our community as it has changed over our rich 200 year history. In our third century we envision new opportunities to meet needs in our community and support and equip one another for service.  Specific goals of the building project are to design a more accessible, welcoming, and functional campus to enable us to better serve our third century of witness.

Q:  When did we begin working on this project?

A:  We have been working on this building project for over five years.  In fact, six sessions of our church have participated in this project since its inception in 2006.

Q:  How have the congregation and staff helped to shape the building project?

A:  The genesis of the current building project began in 2006 with the creation of a task force of members and staff to study the church’s mission and vision.  Their work revealed that it would be impossible to realize the church’s vision for its Third Century without significant improvements to the church buildings and grounds. Since then, literally thousands of hours of work involving hundreds of members of the congregation have brought us to this point.  More than 100 members of the church responded to questionnaires and participated in focus groups and interviews. The results of the interviews were used by the church’s PCUSA consultant, Robert Kukla, to prepare a feasibility study. Members of the church staff participated in all building project-related meetings and were interviewed individually during the multi-year planning process.

Q:  Who is the architect?

A:  We are partnered with BRW Architects, a firm located in Charlottesville, Virginia.  We are working directly with Principal Architect, Bruce Wardell, AIA IFRAA.  Learn more by visiting BRW Architects website at www.brucewardell.com.

Q:  Are we preserving the historical character of the campus (church grounds)?

A:  Yes!  The historic integrity of the campus is at the forefront of our design decisions!  We have designated the area around the sanctuary as the “Church Green”.  The Church Green will be preserved to maintain the existing landscape around the sanctuary so unique to our church in downtown Fredericksburg.  The plans have been developed to preserve the “campus” arrangement we enjoy now.  The historic faces (exteriors) of the Sanctuary and Row Houses on Princess Anne and George Streets will not be altered.  The new additions have been scaled, positioned and designed so that the visual impact honors the beauty of our historic buildings without detracting from them.

Q:  Has the building project Master Plan been approved by Session?

A:  Yes.  Session approved the Master Plan in November 2010.

Q:  Has the Master Plan been endorsed by the congregation?

A: Yes.  A congregational straw vote endorsed the Master Plan during the 5 December 2010 Congregational Meeting.

Q: What is a Master Plan and how is it used?

A:  The Master Plan serves as a directive for outlining project needs, historic implications, project locations, utility systems, circulation, parking, green spaces and building/landscape design guidelines.  The goal of the Master Plan is to create a quality campus setting that reflects the stature of The Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburg’s vision statement.  Moreover, the Master Plan establishes a blueprint for coordinating cost effective decisions to improve our campus quality of life, simplify and enhance the campus organization, establish a positive unified campus identity, improve operational efficiency and identify flexible strategies for accommodating growth.

Q:  Does the Fredericksburg Architectural Review Board (ARB) need to approve our Master Plan?

A:  Yes.  The Fredericksburg ARB provided a provisional approval of our Master Plan in December 2010.  Additional ARB approvals will be required as our plans mature.

Q:  What are the major areas affected in the Master Plan?

A:  The Sanctuary Lift (elevator), Gathering Hall addition to the Row Houses, Church Offices, New Education Building Entrance, Renovation to the Fellowship Hall, Christian Education Classrooms, Children’s Play Area, Hanover House (Hanover Street property) and Charles Street Courtyard (parking area).

Q:  How is wheelchair accessibility provided in the Sanctuary? Will the pew boxes be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs?

A:  After exploring numerous options, our plans call for an elevator in the stairwell on the row house side of the Sanctuary.  The elevator will stop at three levels:  Sanctuary main level, ground level and basement (undercroft) level.  The exterior entrance will be at ground level where a basement window is currently located.  On the exterior we are working closely with the local Architectural Review Board (ARB) to develop access that is discreet, possibly masked by the existing boxwoods. On the interior, elevator service to the main floor will cause the loss of one or two pew boxes at the rear. Our plans for wheelchair positioning have not been finalized but we anticipate only minor additional alterations will be required. The Sanctuary elevator will impose the least amount of impact to the interior pews and the exterior of the building.

Q:  How will the Gathering Hall and Fellowship Hall complement each other?

A:  The Gathering Hall will serve as both an informal and formal meeting space for congregational activities.  Its location and design encourages and promotes both organized and impromptu meetings and fellowship among our congregation.  Its inside hall and the colonnade allow members to congregate with each other, meet with your children before/after Sunday School, post sign up forms/events/updates/information.  Formal activities may include receptions for weddings, funerals and banquets.  The proximity to the kitchen allows the Fellowship Hall to better serve community dinners, collect for Micah ministries, host Wednesday Night Fellowship and more.  Additionally, the Gathering Hall will become a centralized focal point for church campus activities that is convenient, readily accessible and inviting for both congregants and visitors in a way that is not possible with the basement Fellowship Hall.

Q:  Do the Gathering Hall and the New Education Building Entrance connect?

A:  Yes.  The spaces connect underground via a hallway and a series of rooms that provide additional utility and general use space.  Connecting the facilities allows us to take advantage of efficiencies in utilities and kitchen access. This approach also preserves the visual/walking access throughout the campus grounds.

Q:  Will all areas of the campus be wheelchair accessible?

A:  All areas of the campus will be wheelchair accessible with the exception of the attic space in the Row Houses and the balcony of the Sanctuary. Moreover, our plans provide access via elevators that will be reliable and convenient as well as discreet and dignified.

Q:  Are we implementing Sustainable (Green) Technologies?

A:  Yes! As caretakers of His creation, we feel called to embrace green and clean technology in all our construction. A number of strategies are being considered.  One option utilizes geothermal HVAC systems. A significant benefit to this approach is to bequeath to future generations lower operating and maintenance costs while replacing our aging systems that are demanding attention in the near term.

Q:  Do the campus improvements include a Memorial Garden?

A:  Yes!  Our plans include a provision for a Memorial Garden between the Education Building and the rear of the Sanctuary.  We anticipate forming a focus group to consider the format and design for the garden.

Q:  Are we considering improvements to the Rear Entrance to Undercroft?

A:  Yes!  We are working with BRW Architects to determine the best approaches for improvement while preserving the historical character of the campus.

Q:  Are we preserving the Elm tree on Charles Street?

A:  Every effort will be taken to preserve the Elm tree.  We have obtained guidance from a respected arborist on how best to do this and are optimistic that we may actually improve the health and well being of the tree with the new design.

Q:  Is there a way to connect the Hanover House to the rest of the campus?

A:  Currently a deteriorating wall separates this property from the remainder of the campus.  Our plans call for a restoration of the brick wall that also has an opening and walkway between the Hanover House and the remainder of the campus.  The goal is to create an easily accessible path to/from the church campus.

Q:  How will the Hanover House be used?

A:  The Master Plan calls for this building to be renovated.  As presently envisioned, its primary function would be for community ministries such as our current food bank ministry.  Our Mission Committee is considering other ways that this building could be used for ministries to our community in the future.

Q:  Where will the new kitchen be located and will it be larger than the existing kitchen?

A:  The new kitchen will be located in the basement area of the new addition to the Education Building.  The new kitchen will be somewhat larger and will use commercial-grade equipment in a more efficient layout. There will also be adequate, separate storage located in adjacent basement level areas of the new construction.

Q:  How will people unfamiliar with the church grounds be led to find the new spaces (e.g., visual access to the Gathering Hall from the Sanctuary front)?

A:  The architectural design itself as well as signage will lead people to the new spaces.

Q:  Will the Gathering Hall be a place where members can learn more about upcoming church events and sign up to volunteer?

A:  The Gathering Hall will serve as a covered congregational meeting space and serve many functions.  We encourage use of both the inside hall as well as the colonnade to congregate with each other, meet with your children before/after Sunday School, post sign up forms/events/updates/information, to name a few!  To disseminate information, we may continue to set up tables on the lawn as we do today.

Q:  Why doesn’t the Sanctuary elevator stop at the balcony?

A:  Most significant among several reasons, elevator access to the balcony would not meet Virginia’s fire code.

Q:  How is parking being addressed?

A:  After considerable study, we were unable to add significantly to the number of parking spaces within the bounds of our current campus.  The new configuration addresses automobile access by rearranging the parking lot to provide easy and safe drive through and drop-off/pick-up features.  It provides for a drop-off area at the New Education Building Entrance as well as the Gathering Hall entrance. The total daily parking will provide eleven spaces, with the provision for an additional nine spaces on the structurally stabilized green area beside the Gathering Hall. The new plan also segregates automobile traffic from pedestrians to provide for safer and more efficient access.  The not-historic garage will be removed in order to implement this plan.

Q:  The Manse is forgoing its garage.  Are the residents okay with that?

A:  Yes.  Allen and Chris Fisher responded with their sentiment about the importance of the Master Plan.

Q:  Is there a proposed budget?

A:  Yes.  This budget includes not only the basic new features that implement the Sanctuary Lift, the New Education Building Entrance and the Gathering Hall but also a host of needed and desirable upgrades to the remainder of the campus.  These possible upgrades address nearly every architectural and engineering aspect of all of our buildings – both new and old.  The all-inclusive estimate to undertake the Master Plan is currently $7.25 million.

Q:  Are there options for phasing?

A:  Yes.  However, there are no specific plans for phasing as yet. Phasing decisions will be made by the Session once the results of the Capital Campaign are captured.

Q:  How long will the building project take?

A:  Plan development and bidding will require almost a year.  Construction will require a minimum of 12-16 months.  Phasing will extend the construction schedule.

Q:  Will the parking lot be visible (via glass) from the New Education Building Entrance for easy pick-up/drop-off?

A:  Yes.  We expect that those waiting to be picked-up in the New Education Building Entrance will be able to look for their ride in the parking queue.

Q:  Will the renovated Fellowship Hall be bigger than the current one?

A:  Yes.  The newly renovated, accessible Fellowship Hall will be approximately 50% larger than the current Fellowship Hall.  The renovation will increase the number of people that the Fellowship Hall can accommodate by a similar proportion.

Q:  Will there be an increase in the number of classrooms available for Christian Education?

A:  Yes.  Our plan calls for the offices to be moved from the Education Building to the Row Houses.  These empty offices will be used as classrooms.  Additionally, the current stairwell in the Education Building on the top two floors will be converted to classroom space.  The Gathering Hall will provide additional classroom space on the second floor.  The Gathering Hall will have a basement room for general purpose use that may include classrooms.  The Master Plan also calls for renovation of the Education Building to better utilize the existing floor space.

Q:  How will we maintain our normal operations during construction?

A:  Our plan will provide for essentially uninterrupted flow of normal church operations during construction.  However, it will be necessary for us to accommodate the construction process once underway, in much the same way we were required to do so during the sanctuary and undercroft renovations in recent years.  Continuity of operations is a necessary aspect of both the design process and the construction contracting process with the general contractor.

Q:  When will we learn more about the details of the design?

A:  More detail for specific designs will be shared after the architectural and engineering firms develop the construction grade drawings.  We hope to begin this phase of the project in the early months of 2011.

Q:  Will neighbors be kept informed of our progress?

A:  Website updates and project schedules will help to communicate our progress as well as any disruptions to the neighborhood during the construction phase.

Q:  How will the congregation keep informed of the building project’s progress?

A:  Please visit this website for updates, visit the displays in the Middle House hallway, and look for updates in the Sunday bulletins and monthly newsletters.

Q:  How can I be sure that the architect will consider our church’s unique needs and requirements?

A:  We plan to have focus groups and other meetings with the architect and with individuals and groups from our church to discuss particular aspects of the designs.  For example, the Christian Education Committee will provide input on classroom designs, persons and groups that frequently use the kitchen will provide input on kitchen and pantry design, the Mission Committee will provide input on the design for the food pantry and Hanover House renovations, etc.  The makeup of these focus groups and the timing and format for these discussions will be developed during the upcoming detailed design phase of the project.

Q:  Can I help?

A:  Yes! Your participation, support and stewardship are blessings to our congregation and to Christ’s work in the city, region, nation and world from our downtown faith home.  Following are a few ways you can help:

  1. Pray for those leading this effort as well as for all church members, that they seek God’s guidance and will for our congregation.
  2. Participate in focus groups to help shape interior spaces and the memorial garden.  Please look for more information about focus groups in upcoming Sunday bulletins and on the church website.
  3. Continue to submit your comments/suggestions. Please drop your comments/suggestions in the box at the back of the sanctuary or email vision21@fredericksburgpc.org.
  4. Attend congregational meetings.