SEAC Report and Budget Update: Old First E-pistle 10.29.21

SEAC Report and Budget Update: Old First E-pistle 10.29.21

SEAC Budget Update

The Sanctuary Enhancement and Accessibility Committee has been keeping close tabs on the project budget and is happy to report on the current status.



What an amazing commitment the congregation has made to this work!

Total pledged: $431,399

Received to date: $368,259 (85%)

Like our annual operating budget, we are planning for the possibility of incomplete pledges. When we take into account the possibility of limited incomplete pledges, the expected total income for the project is $428,242. 


Projected total cost: $466,349

Our projected total cost includes an estimate for cost overruns of about $21,000.

Since our expected total income–$428,242– is less than our expected expenses–$466,349, we are currently looking at a potential deficit of approximately $38,000

The deficit is primarily due to two areas of the budget that are coming in higher than we anticipated:

Flooring: Original estimate was $40,000, but the final cost will be nearly $68,000 due to the higher cost of raw materials and labor.

Electrical work: Original estimate was $20,000, but the current proposal is $63,500 due to code requirements for safety lighting and a new electrical box in the upper narthex.

On the positive side, the glass entry doors are projected to cost about half of the $35,000 that was originally budgeted.


Committee Recommendation

The committee is recommending that we handle this deficit with a three-pronged approach:

1.Postpone selected costs to Phase B—We can save money in the near term by postponing selected items that are not essential to completing the sanctuary renovation. These can be competed in a “Phase B.”

a) Seating – We have already received ample chairs to seat the congregation. We had always planned to order a second set after determining how many might be needed. This order can be delayed at least 6-12 months.

b) Attic ventilation—With the improved access to the attic that the project is providing, we can set up monitors that will provide data to help us determine the needs and best way to ventilate the attic. Delaying this aspect of the project by 6 to 12 months will give us time to complete this analysis.

2. Fundraising—We will work to raise additional funds for Phase B.

3. Endowment—If needed following the fund-raising efforts, we could borrow or take a grant from the endowment. This possibility should certainly be considered. Since this is a “Once-in-50-Years” project and is being used to improve our building, this could be considered a proper use of endowment funds.

If you have questions or comments, please contact a member of the committee:

Dan Bigelow, Michael Caine, Rae Conley, Nancy Donohue, Barry Evans, Keith Haberern, Allison King, Tony Pavolini, Bob Robinson, Joanna Robinson, Janice Smith (chair), Kathy Sykes

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Old First SEAC Report 

We are grateful for the contributions of so many to the capital campaign for the transformation of our worship space and updates to our church building.  Without those contributions, none of this work would be possible.  We hope everyone will participate so that each of us can feel we have been part of the sanctuary enhancement.  Any contribution is greatly appreciated.   

On behalf of the SEAC team led by Janice Smith, I am pleased to provide an Update of our progress. We started meeting in November 2020; we met weekly for months. Taking a break in the summer while we waited for the permit from 

L & I.  Now we are back to meeting weekly.    


Some of the highlights of our work:   

  1. The sunburst in the ceiling.  If you haven’t seen it, you must.  It’s truly spectacular. 
  2. The chairs. After much debate and discussion, OF will have chairs when we worship in our sanctuary. And they are here!! Waiting for us! 
  3. A new coat of paint. Always makes a huge difference. 
  4. Leveling the floor. Needed for flexible use of space. 

 Some factors that have affected our progress

We applied for a permit from L & I in early June. After a request from the city for more information, we finally got the permit on September 8. Three months after our application in June. After September 8, we were hopeful we could get a lot done now that the permit is approved.  

Just as we thought the pandemic would end more quickly; we thought the permit would be available more quickly and all the work could get done and we could be back in the sanctuary for worship.   

It was at this point; we identified a problem with the contractor in that his license was not in order and that the contractor and his crew were not on site as expected. We also became concerned about the quality of some of the work.    

We intensified our discussions with the contractor to address these concerns and resolve them.  Janice asked her husband Ruben Wade, a retired engineer who ran a Design Build Remodel Business, to join her and Michael in their meetings with the contractor.   

We have been assisted by Pam Loughman using her skills as a Real Estate attorney to help us in this process as we document the issues and our conversations. Going forward, we will require a clearly delineated work plan and schedule of completion dates.  

We hope to work out the problems. But it is ultimately up to the contractor to rectify the problems on his end.  

Where are we now?

We are disappointed but as anyone who has work done in your home, the process is not always as smooth and straightforward as you would like.  

In the event these issues cannot be resolved, we will need to find another contractor. In fact, we have interviewed 2 additional contractors as a backup plan should the issues not be resolved.    

If we must end the contract, we will have to identify exactly what has been completed, monies expended, and what we are owed. As with most any contractor, a 50% down payment was made.  (Contract was for $59,000, and a down payment was $29,500.) There may be cost implications of changing contractors. We will keep you informed. We want to be transparent.  

Electrician’s contract is being negotiated, language finalized, and work will begin as soon as it is final. We hope to have the electrical panel and the lighting done ASAP. Other work will have to be coordinated with the work of the contractor.   

We expected we would be back in the sanctuary by now. Instead, we will go back to online worship in November. But progress like life is not a straight line. I try to keep that in Mind.  After my mother passed away, I found a little post-it note among her possessions, it said  We plan, God laughs! We ask for your prayers as we continue our work.