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Trinity Facilities Update from the Senior Warden

Father Gerry asked me to update the members of the congregation about a number of campus related issues and developments. I remember when we moved into this campus 15 years ago, and many of you were here then as well. I was amazed at how large and roomy the new campus was compared to our old one. The new campus provided us the facilities to better support our existing ministries, to start new ministries, and to increase our outreach into the local community. However, even though these buildings were new to us as a congregation, they were by no means “new buildings.” The oldest buildings on campus were built around 1980, which makes them over 35 years old. The newest building on the campus is this Sanctuary building we are sitting in right now—built in 1992, it is 24 years old. We are dealing with the challenges of maintaining an aging campus, while at the same time we are striving to grow our many ministries.

First off, I want to share with you some very, very good news. We filed a claim with our insurance company last year regarding wind damage to the roofs on the TEDs building as well as all of the other buildings. It required a great deal of assessment, documentation, discussion and patience, but in the end our insurance company awarded us an approved claim for about $350,000. We met with our roofing contractor, and after some in-depth discussions, we arrived at a work plan that included roofing repairs to all of the buildings on campus as well as addressing a number of other deferred maintenance issues such as replacing rotten siding. During the work process so far, we have uncovered some additional damaged structural supports that will require repair, but those are not surprising given the age of our buildings. These newly discovered structural problems are uninsured and to date exceed $21,000, so they will need to be paid for out of other financial resources. In the aggregate, the insurance-funded repairs to the roof and to other problem areas will go a long way towards solving some of the deferred maintenance issues we have been facing.

As a vestry, we are striving to

  1. improve how we manage the physical facilities, and
  2. optimize how we pay for facilities and any necessary repairs and improvements.

Among major steps that we have taken:

  • The hiring of a full time Facilities Manager two years ago. This provides continuity and an undivided focus on all aspects of running the physical plant
  • The engaging of Ideal Impact as an energy management consultant. With their help, we are in the process of optimizing our use of heating and cooling throughout the campus by better scheduling and by using remotely controlled thermostats. Ideal Impact will be paid through a % of verifiable energy savings
  • Installing cost efficient LED lights throughout most parts of the campus and replacing the lighting control system in the Sanctuary building
  • Contracting with an air conditioning firm to do preventative maintenance
  • The Junior Warden is engaging with facilities managers at other large campuses such as The Woodlands United Methodist Church and Saint Anthony of Padua to learn best practices and share perspectives on which local contractors and service providers do the best work and are most reliable
  • We renegotiated the mortgage at a significantly lower fixed rate of interest for the next 10 years
  • We negotiated a new $500,000 bank credit facility that will enable us to proactively address major maintenance issues. In the past, financial constraints forced us to wait until a major piece of equipment failed, and then we would scramble to find the financial resources to pay for repairs or replacement. This prevented us from being able to shop multiple vendors for the best price, or to evaluate which technological solution might provide the best long-term answer to our needs. Our new bank facility gives us the financial “bootstrap” that allows us to plan ahead to achieve the best long term solution. By way of example, we are currently working with an HVAC contractor to evaluate the options for replacing and/or upgrading the major components of the HVAC system in the Sanctuary building.

I want to be very clear on this point—we view this new bank credit facility as a tool to become much better at deciding on the right solution at the right price to be installed at the most appropriate time. We do not view it as the best way to finance repairs over an extended time frame. When we met with the Diocese regarding their approval of this credit facility, they were quite clearly concerned about Trinity taking on more debt. It is the Diocese’s recommendation, and our game plan, that we fund these repairs on a more current basis. To facilitate the funding of building repairs, Trinity currently has a “reserve fund” where funds donated by parishioners are accumulated until the need arises to cover the cost of a repair. Let me be very direct right now—the Vestry is asking that each and every one of you in attendance here today join us in addressing the funding requirements for the repairs and maintenance needs of our campus. Please show us your generosity and support by donating to the reserve fund.

A quick note on Trinity Tomorrow: we are one year into our three-year capital campaign. The total amount pledged was approximately $2.5 million, and we have collected approximately 1/3 of the pledge amount to date. We have hired Merriman Holt Powell as architects and Paradigm Construction as construction consultants. We are in the early stages of deciding on building design and getting cost estimates on the construction of a new building for the children and youth.

We thank you for your support and faithfulness throughout this current construction project and as we work together to build our efforts to fulfill our mission.