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A Building Plan for St. Paul's

Isaiah 56:7, For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples ...

Our building helps us to tell the story of our church—our past, our present and our future. As we contemplated our next 100 years, many things came together that pointed to the need for renovations of this 68-year-old building. The last major renovation was in 1986 when the parish expanded the building to include a new kitchen, classrooms and the Great Room. With the development of a five-year maintenance plan and confirmation of the need for additional space for Bethlehem School, it was determined that it was time to coordinate a building project. In conjunction with our 100 year anniversary, the St Paul’s “Dream Team”—Dick Shafner, Sheila Callaghan, Carole Mason, Dave Garlow (Jr. Warden), Katie Ahearn (Sr. Warden), and Father Rob—was formed to consider maintenance upgrades, enhancement of the look of the church, increasing handicap accessibility, and implementing energy savings initiatives. The Bethlehem School board with St Paul’s Jr. Warden, Sr. Warden and Father Rob formed a team to outline the desired enhancements for the school. The teams set out to ambitiously launch the project during the summer of 2018 (our 100th year), however, it became readily apparent that given the needed scope of the work, the summer of 2018 start date would need to be postponed until the summer of 2019. Our goal is to ensure that the correct planning and implementation take place to make our building fully ready for the 21st century.

Church Upgrade – Handicap Bathroom

A handicap bathroom is required to meet the needs of all parishioners. The current upstairs bathroom does not meet the state regulation code for handicap access. To meet the regulation, the bathroom will be expanded to occupy the “coffee nook”. The aisleway will need to shift roughly 18 inches, therefore, the rector’s office will be decreased in size (see drawing). The “coffee nook” will be recreated with the sink moved to the area over the stairs (not currently shown) and the refrigerator relocated adjacent to the sink, if possible. The backup plan is to relocate the refrigerator elsewhere in the Common Room.

Church Upgrade – Updated Narthex

The “Dream Team” decided to upgrade the narthex to a more pleasing appearance. This includes replacing the outside doors and associated structure, replacing the inside doors by widening the entrance to allow for new doors with glass panels on each of the doors, with the intent to let parishioners see into the sanctuary when entering the narthex, and modifying the rails on the balcony to meet regulation height by adding structural supports and glass panels. As a cost cutting measure, the addition of the portico and chandelier were abandoned.

Church Upgrades – Energy Efficiency Changes

To increase energy efficiency and reduce energy costs, some windows will be replaced and walls insulated. The windows in the sanctuary will be replaced and, where possible, walls will be insulated. The stained-glass window panes will be preserved and remounted in the current location. The windows in the Common Room which face the street will be replaced and the associated wall will be injected with insulation.

Church Upgrades – Maintenance Related Changes

There will be cosmetic and maintenance changes to enhance the building. New rugs will be placed in most rooms upstairs (sanctuary, narthex, aisleway, stairs/balcony and Great Room). The pews in the sanctuary and the floors in the sanctuary and sacristy will be refinished. A dedicated AC unit will be installed to service the office and rector’s office. The lights which are suspended in the sanctuary will be modified internally to accommodate energy saving LED lighting, but the look of the lights on the outside will not change.

School Upgrades – Summary

One of the driving factors for upgrading the school was to get rid of the dated look of the school and to expand the school to accommodate more students to address a year-over-year backlog. Significant work was conducted on how to expand the school and the best option is to split the big room downstairs in half. This will allow for an addition of 15 students without changing the footprint of the building. There will be no change in the footprint of the shared kitchen. Most of the school upgrades are focused on modernizing the look of the school and bringing the building up to code as needed. This includes all new tiles, all new windows, upgraded bathrooms, and adding handicap accessibility. In addition, the director’s office and teacher’s lounge will be relocated.


Based on building use, the optimal time for this construction is the summer. The plan is to shut down the school for the summer with a start date of June 10th. We anticipate a 10-week construction period ending mid-August with a two-week buffer before school starts. With the amount of work being performed in the sanctuary, we will be holding church in the Great Room during the summer.

The school will be responsible for the financing of their portion of the upgrades. The church upgrades will cost approximately $350,000 including architect and construction fees. This includes an upgraded septic system to meet both Church and school needs; an estimated $50,000 increase (included in the $350,000). The church upgrades will be financed through a Green (energy efficient) Loan from the Diocese and monies borrowed from the DIT (Diocesan Investment Trust). We will conduct a capital campaign to allow for early repayment of these loans.


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