Some things you don’t really want to know. Like how they make sausage. Ignorance is bliss. You just enjoy the taste of sausage without worrying about the making of it.
Our new building is a little like sausage. You’re going to love the taste when we walk into our new digs. Serving God in a new way in our new home is in our very near future. And that thrills us.
But the process of getting there may turn your stomach, especially if you’re easily frustrated by waiting and delays.
I’d like to give you another update on our progress toward the new building.
In my blog post on September 15, I mentioned that our architects at Building God’s Way (BGW) were due to resubmit revised drawings to the City of Phoenix, and we were told that we should have plans approved by mid-October. It turns out that BGW did not get the revised drawings finished and submitted until October 3. Late last Friday, on October 26 the City finished reviewing the revised plans and still hasn’t approved them. Various puzzling comments and challenges from the City need to be worked out.
I also mentioned that ShiffererBuilt, our general contractor (GC) underestimated the cost of our new building by hundreds of thousands of dollars. All along, we’ve had a construction budget of $1.5 million to build out the facilities, and our architects and general contractor worked with us from the beginning toward a design that would fit within that budget. Initial bids for construction came in at $2.1 million—some $600,000 over budget. That put us in the very position we had been working hard to avoid: many months into the process and we had a design we couldn’t afford to build, and we were behind on our construction timeline.
I mentioned in my last post that we directed our GC to find ways to bring the job within budget, and we set September 29 as the deadline for him to come up with a revised control estimate. The revised estimate was not provided until October 12. And it was still not within our $1.5 million construction budget. So, we directed the GC to go back and do whatever is necessary to bring the construction costs within budget, including leaving portions of the building unfinished. Our priority has been to maintain the quality of the Sunday morning experience and make compromises in other areas.
On Wednesday night, October 24, we finally received from the GC a revised control estimate for $1.4 million. It would leave the back of house completely unfinished, including offices, green room, conference room, volunteer central, and the sound and visual arts studio. At this point, we are willing to make many such sacrifices. But there remain some painful cuts that seem unwise. We are now in the process of sorting through all the proposed cuts (called value engineering options) to fully understand them and decide what we’re willing to live with.
On Wednesday morning this week, our construction team met the GC and BGW for over three hours to try to move closer to finalizing the control estimate. Also joining us were John Gardner and Kathy Dunn, long-time members of Moon Valley with construction experience. They are helping us evaluate opportunities to cut costs and add value. Through John’s connections, we are getting more bids on major portions of the project which we hope will save us more money. We made good progress, but still have some work to do.
Concurrently, members of the Moon Valley construction team have been working on other non-construction items. We are excited about our audio-visual-lighting package for the auditorium provided by Five Words Media. We are also in the process of buying chairs for the auditorium and youth room. And the indoor playground is getting hammered out.
You may find it interesting that we are making some purchases of furniture, fixtures, and equipment in advance for items that have an increase in price coming because of the tariffs on imports from China.
Early on in this process our architect and general contractor gave me some advice I did not follow. They said they do not recommend that senior pastors get involved as the point person for projects like this. “It will swallow you” they said, “and take you away from other ministry.” I see their point, but we didn’t really have any other good options.
At times, I have felt swallowed and frustrated. But I am not alone. Others are working just as hard. I am so grateful for our team who has done a remarkable job in bringing different gifts and knowledge to the table. The team includes, Wes Crenshaw, Deric Miller, Danielle Kenan, Mike Mabry, Jackie Mabry, David Hensiek, Ron Turner, and Annette Turner. And now John Gardner and Kathy Dunn are involved. And the Elders have also been involved a great deal. I can’t thank all these people enough.
As an encouragement, Deric recently sent the team the lyrics to a song he heard recently that really spoke to him. It’s called “Easy” by Sarah Reeves. Here’s what he said in his email.
Somehow God allows music to speak to me at just the right time. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been discouraged by this whole process (as I’m sure a lot of you have been.) Looking over the estimate this morning and throughout the day, that feeling feels as though it’s compounding. This process has been a lot harder than I was expecting.
An album that I’ve been listening to has a song on it that I put in the pre-service music a couple months ago. Sometimes I put music in there just because I like the way it sounds and not necessarily by what it’s about. I really liked the way this song sounded, but the message clearly spoke to me today. The song is “Easy” by Sarah Reeves. Her new album is called Easy Never Needed You and that is essentially what the song is saying.
[The lyric,] “I thought I wanted it easy, but easy never needed you” spoke volumes to me.
This process has been hard. But it’s only increasing our reliance on God.
I hope this has been an encouragement.
It was indeed an encouragement, and I remain encouraged despite all the frustrations. We are in a terrific position. And God’s got us right where he wants us. Needing him. And depending on him.
I love my job. And I love our Shepherd. Keep the faith. It won’t be long before the sausage begins to sizzle!
- Pastor Bob Kerrey, Lead Pastor, Moon Valley Bible Church