Water, Water Everywhere!

While Houston is down in rainfall one half of an inch so far this summer, St. Stephen’s has been feeling the effects of water in many corners of our facilities.  We have experienced leaks in the roof of the sanctuary, a pipe burst under the nursery, water intrusion in the Norwich room, and water leaks behind the stucco in the education wing of the building.  As you may know, St. Stephen’s retained its original property, a residence which was constructed in the 1920s.  This building became part of the education wing and was covered with stucco.  The limestone portion of the education building has settled over time and water is finding its way through the stone and mortar.

Fortunately, our Building and Grounds committee and our Maintenance Supervisor, Michael Hayward, have been working to address these issues, utilizing maintenance operating funds from both the Church and School.  These buildings need to sustain our ministries for the next 3 years as we move ahead with our building plans.  You will notice that the stucco has been repaired on the face of the education building along the garden entrance and the office interior walls have been repaired; drainage will also be addressed.  The Norwich Room is receiving new flooring and its limestone exterior is being sealed and tuck pointed repaired and a new drainage channel has been installed on the exterior.  The sanctuary roof was under warranty and it is being repaired.  All of these investments which total about $40K will enable us to continue to use our facilities in the near term.  They will not address remaining structural issues with the HVAC and wiring; these will need to be factored into decisions about the scope of the construction phase of our capital campaign.

Our strategic ministry goals call us to grow; to invite, welcome, connect, and reconnect; to close demographic gaps; and to collaborate with our School.  Accomplishing these goals requires us to me good stewards of our buildings as tools for ministry.  The chickens are coming home to roost; we can only patch for so long.

 I am excited to announce that the Vestry and School Board have approved the hiring of a Pre-Construction Project Manager  whose scope of services is composed of the following:

  • Review (i) the existing facilities on the campus, (ii) the recently completed master plan, (iii) cost estimates for the demolition, renovation and new construction contemplated in Phase 1 of the master plan, (iv) the draft capital campaign budget and (v) goals of the capital campaign.

  • Assist in the evaluation of various use of space options during the period prior to construction of a new building in Phase 1 and upon completion of construction.  Initial space use options have been prepared by a committee representing the church and school.  Concept pricing has been provided for these options by a consultant.

  • Assist in the completion of a capital campaign budget based upon a reasonable timeline for completion of Phase 1 of the master plan.

  • Assist in finalizing programming and planned areas of new construction and renovation based on documented church and school needs and project budget.

  • Assist in the creation of an RFP for architectural services, coordinate responses to questions from the architects and assist in the evaluation of proposals.

  • Provide communications to the church and school leadership.  Coordinate, lead, document and attend project status meetings.

  • The anticipated duration for this scope of work is approximately 3 months. 

The Vestry and Board of Trustees expect to be calling an architect to begin design and construction documents by the end of the year.  This is an important time in our common life and I am thrilled that we are taking these next steps, and none too soon!