~ Associate Pastor Anne Van Kley
At our recent annual meeting, I presented the congregation with a proposed building enhancement project that would positively impact multiple PRLC ministries. Here is a summary of that presentation.
In the fall Tim Sullivan, director of our Child Development Center (CDC) approached the staff to talk about expanding the CDC. Currently the CDC includes five classrooms for children ages one through five. However, many kids age out of our program before they are ready (or old enough) for kindergarten. Each year, the CDC turns down multiple requests for kids to stay in our five-year-old room another year, because we simply don’t have the capacity for that right now.
Tim reported that for several years he’s seen a growing need among the families we serve for a classroom that would serve older five year old children.
Tim brought an initial proposal to the church council in November, asking for permission to pursue this possibility. He asked the council first to decide if this was a worthwhile mission for us to take on, and the consensus was a strong yes. The CDC has always existed to serve the needs of our community, and our desire is to continue that mission.
Tim’s original proposal included five options for use of space in our building. And this is where things got even more exciting.
We realized that talking about an expansion of the CDC provides us with a wonderful opportunity to consider all of our ministries. Many of our spaces have not been updated for many years, and there are several rooms in our building that could be used more efficiently.
So, we next formed an exploratory committee to look closely at our options. This group gained energy as we studied our current space use and tried to re-imagine how we could update our building and benefit multiple ministries at once.
At this point, the committee and church council agree that the best option is to convert our current nursery into a new, permanent CDC classroom.
Obviously that means we need a new nursery, since it is a vital part of our congregation. Considering many options, our team concluded that a wonderful new nursery could be created in what is currently known as the Tower Room (located on the 4th floor near the balcony). The current women’s restroom on that floor will become the new private nursery bathroom; the men’s room will become a unisex bathroom; the Cry Room that’s in the balcony will be updated to match and complement the new nursery; and we will move the archives that are currently stored in the Tower Room to a new and improved location.
As you can see, this whole proposal really creates a “domino effect” that ends up affecting many of our ministries in ways that give us some really exciting opportunities!
Currently the Tower Room is used for many meetings – both for congregational ministries and outside groups. It’s also where we teach confirmation; and frankly, our confirmation classes have outgrown that space. To accommodate all of that, we also are proposing enhancements to both the Fireside Room and the Youth Room, which are downstairs off the Fellowship Hall. These spaces are multi-functional and need to remain multi-functional. Upgrades will include improved, functional archive space; a large meeting table; intentional youth and confirmation space; and added work space for the Food Bank.
I’m sure you’re wondering about finances and next steps. The project is not anticipated to affect our budget because the CDC currently has enough reserved funds to cover the proposed costs. In fact, reinvestment of CDC profits into multiple PRLC ministries is good stewardship of those profits.
Our hope is to have the new classroom available for students this fall. We would work backwards (beginning with downstairs enhancements) so that we are never without a meeting space or nursery during the transition. The next step is to meet with a contractor and designer to begin work on the details of the project. The congregation will have an opportunity to vote on the complete proposal at our congregational meeting in April.
Please know that your questions, feedback, and ideas are always welcome.