The church voted to approve the remodeling plans on 1/22/23
**Items that are double-starred below have been added to this page after the church’s town hall meeting Sunday PM January 8

What companies will be doing the renovation work?

Mantel Teter is the architect (the same firm that designed our existing worship center). Pearce Construction is the general contractor. Avdoxa will handle the audio, video, and lighting. Those companies will hire various subcontractors as well. Those three local companies are respected as being at the top of their fields, they all specialize in working with churches, and the three of them have experience working together on multiple large church projects in metro KC.

What kinds of technology upgrades will we have, and what will those upgrades allow us to do?

Audio — Our current audio system utilizes extremely large speakers clustered at the center of the worship center ceiling. The new system features multiple arrays of many smaller speakers, precisely aimed at each seating area in the room. The result will be much clearer, more direct sound with much less echo for every worshipper no matter where he or she is seated. Additional upgrades include digital audio connections from the sound booth area to the platform and additional wireless microphones.

Video Projection — Changes to room lighting and improved video screens will allow our current video projectors to operate as they were designed, with sharp, easy-to-read text for scriptures, sermon notes and song lyrics as well as vibrant colors for an immersive multimedia experience. The existing video screens will be lowered slightly, allowing them to be easily viewed while simultaneously viewing worship leaders and speakers on the platform.

Video Cameras — New production-quality video cameras, optimally located in the worship center, will capture every detail of Sunday worship and other events. Additional unobtrusive remote control cameras will allow operators to zoom in on special moments in the service. All the cameras feature precise color matching to enable a seamless video experience both for livestream participants and for those viewing the service on large TV screens in the lobby and throughout our facility.

Lighting — Lights over the seating area feature the latest LED fixtures for warm, pleasant lighting, low cost of operation, and precise dimming control. Movable, color-changing LED lights over the platform area enable dramatic effects for special presentations. The capacity to light independent zones on the platform area will allow us to intentionally focus the attention of worshippers on a specific speaker or worship leader while eliminating other visual distractions. The goal of upgraded worship center lighting is improved communication between platform leaders and worshippers.

Livestream — Higher quality cameras, improved lighting, and the audio capacity to more accurately capture music and spoken words in worship will create a dramatic difference for livestream participants. In addition, a higher capacity video switcher will improve visuals for both livestream and in-person participants by providing separate onscreen graphics for each. A separate audio mixing system for the livestream will allow one audio team member to focus on the livestream sound while another team member mixes sound for in-person worshippers.

Will there still be an organ?

Yes, there will be an organ! The plans call for a digital organ instead of our existing pipe organ. Modern digital organs can make even more of the grand organ sounds we are accustomed to with our current pipe organ. A digital organ requires much less maintenance, and it won’t go out of tune every time the temperature changes significantly like the pipe organ does. It will play through the new sound system, so we will be able to mix it well with other instruments and we will be able to hear it on our online worship services. It would be able to be moved to different places on the platform. Furthermore, the transition to a digital organ is what makes it possible for us to expose the large stained glass behind the platform. The air from the organ to the pipes currently passes through a space in the wall under the baptistery.

Why is the baptistery moving?

Replacing the current baptistery with a portable baptistery makes it possible for us to expose the entirety of the large stained glass behind the platform. It also solves the problem of a lack of accessibility with our current baptistery – right now, you can’t be baptized in our church unless you can climb multiple flights of stairs. A portable baptistery would allow us to emphasize baptism in a variety of ways. It could be placed in the center of the platform or at the front of the church for a baptism service. It could be placed in the chapel area of the lobby, allowing friends and family members of the baptismal candidate to be part of the experience in an up close and intimate way that is not possible with our current setup.
**At the meeting Sunday PM, Pastor Blake and the team indicated that the plan is that most baptisms would continue to happen in the worship center.

Why are we replacing the glass wall at the back of the worship center with a solid wall?

The current glass wall is something that is extremely uncommon in churches, but it is familiar to us. It allows people to partway participate in worship from the lobby without entering the room and fully engaging, which can be both an opportunity and a problem. We regularly hear from worshippers who sit at the back of the worship center, and we occasionally hear from people on the platform, that they are distracted by what is happening in the lobby. A solid wall would eliminate that distraction. The solid wall would also make it possible for us to control the lighting in the worship center more completely to be able to create intimate worship moments without light from the lobby spilling into the worship center. Screens in the lobby would display the worship service, so it would still be possible for people to experience the service from there.
**The future planning team has literally spent hours discussing the advantages and disadvantages of a glass wall at the back of the worship center, including additional conversation after hearing concerns expressed by some church members at the January 8 Town Hall meeting. Multiple options have been weighed and carefully considered (full glass wall, partial glass wall, solid wall with windows, solid wall with glass doors, etc.). As a final part of the team’s research on the project, the team sought the recommendation of a church security expert (an Overland Park police officer who has a church security consulting business and who trains our church’s security team). He recommended that we cover the space with a continuous wall. His report stated, “having the space walled in provides an additional layer of security in the construction materials alone,” and he cautioned us that a glass wall or windows would allow “a comfortable firing position for someone wishing to cause harm to congregants.” Due to these security concerns, in addition to the reasons expressed above, the proposal still calls for the glass to be replaced with a solid wall, with screens displaying the service for those who aren’t comfortable being in the service.

What is the projected timeline of the project, and how will our ministries continue during the time that much of the building is under construction?

As you can imagine, there are a number of moving parts with a project of this magnitude. Our contractor is currently looking at a timeline that would have work begin late in the summer of 2023, with completion around the beginning of 2024. For the five months of construction, we would lose access to the worship center and fellowship hall. We will have to be pretty flexible dealing with less than ideal situations for those months, knowing that something remarkable will be there at the finish line. Plans
include some updates to the gym that will make it work as a worship space during the renovations, which will be a trip down memory lane for those of our church family who remember when that space was our worship center. We would have to adjust our schedule to do multiple morning worship services to have room for everyone. We will have to be especially creative with our community groups, since we will lose many of our adult classrooms for the months of construction. We will make it work with a
combination of groups meeting off site or meeting at different times, and groups meeting in less-than- ideal parts of the building. We can also explore the possibility of procuring modular classrooms, and perhaps even finding temporary space to move the entire operation off site for Sunday mornings.

What are the details about the potential financing of the project?

The proposal the church will be asked to approve on January 22 calls for a $4.5 million project budget, with approval to finance an amount not to exceed $3.5 million. That financing amount represents a “worst case scenario” in which we don’t raise another penny between now and about ten months from now when the time comes to secure a loan (we have almost $1 million on hand already thanks to the church’s generosity so far). Every penny we give over the next several months will reduce the amount we will need to borrow. The church leaders who are making the recommendation are confident that the actual amount we borrow will be much less than that large amount (and by the way, the lenders with whom we have communicated indicate that the normal limit of what they would loan a church would be an amount 3x the church’s annual contributions. We annually receive about $2 million, so even the upper limit we are asking you to approve is well below that limit).

Any money that we finance would begin as a construction line of credit in which we would receive money as needed to pay for different parts of the project. Once construction is complete, the total borrowed would roll into permanent financing on a 20-year term. This arrangement is what the church has done with all of its major construction projects over the last few decades, and the church has always paid off the amount borrowed much more quickly than it was due (we paid off the loan for our recent remodeling of our children and student space in just over a year). We’ve done research to determine the possible payment we would have to make. A church in Missouri similar to ours recently took out a loan
for a similar project at an interest rate of 6.25%. Figuring at 6.5%, the monthly payment for a loan of $3.5 million would be $26,095. If rates rose to 7.5% by the time we secured the loan, the monthly payment would be $28,195. But it is important to reiterate that none of the people proposing this project believe we will need to borrow anywhere near $3.5 million. The generous people of the church contributed over $300,000 to the project in November alone (on top of the $175,000 that went to the church’s ministries and missions), and we expect much more to be given over the next several months.
**The plan now includes renovations to the kitchen, which raises to total project budget to $4.54 million. See item number 9 below for additional information about the kitchen.

Why are we moving ahead with the lobby renovation now instead of saving it for a future phase?

During our Momentum campaign, the Future Planning Team presented a plan to remodel the lobby in a future phase of the project. That recommendation was made so that we could trim $700,000 off of the cost of the current project. However, once the proposal became public, many other church leaders recommended that we proceed with the lobby as part of the current phase. A great deal of enthusiasm was expressed for the impact that the renovated lobby could have on our efforts to reach out to our
community. Furthermore, delaying the project would lead to higher costs, and it would create a scenario in which we would have the major disruption of losing access to that part of our building two different times. Combining the lobby with the current worship center project means that we will only have one such disruption.
**The security consultant who reviewed our plans was extremely positive about the proposal to make the lobby more open. He stated that the openness would make it possible for our security team to have faster recognition of possible problems. At the same time, the more open plan would make access quicker for medical emergencies.

What’s the plan for the church kitchen?

**In the town hall meeting January 8, several church members expressed a desire for the kitchen to be remodeled as part of the project. The future planning team heard those ideas and has decided to add the kitchen to the project. Our kitchen is a vital part of important ministries like Vacation Bible School, Real Moms, and funeral dinners. The cabinets are ancient and in poor condition, the floor is in bad shape, and the kitchen is otherwise in need of significant TLC. The church’s property team has received a quote of $40,000 for significant renovations to the kitchen that will include new flooring, cabinets, and countertops. Ministry leaders who use the kitchen frequently will be consulted regarding final design plans. Contributions of $20,000 have already been designated toward that cause. Adding the kitchen to the remodeling plan increases the total project budget to $4.54 million.