Judi Finney and I met with the contractors this past Monday to finally learn the fate of our new lift which will transport people from the Social Hall directly into the Sanctuary. Mark Olsoe, Judi, and I (along with input from Robert Pacht and Peggy Tlapak) have been working together since last summer to try to get this project on its feet. We finally found a reputable construction firm last September and have spent the last almost six months waiting while the professionals did their work: the architect, the electrician, the structural engineer and the construction company all trying to make sense of our old building and how to retrofit something that was never intended for it.
From the beginning, our goal has been to try and get the lift installed in time for candidating week, April 27th through May 5th. I am very sorry to say, that is not going to happen. There are many variables for the delay:
• Money – the estimate for the work from our contractor is more than we currently have in our Elevator Fund. The committee would like a few months to work on securing the necessary funds.
• Construction will be messy – plywood will be up in both the social hall and the sanctuary to protect people from falling through the shaft created for the lift.
• Time – the lift project would actually only take about four weeks to install if the crews could work normal eight-hour days, Monday through Friday. However, Westside is very lucky to have Sweet Pea Preschool as a tenant and work could not begin until 2 pm during the week. And then there are all of the small groups meeting in the church during the evenings – construction is noisy and would certainly impact those meetings. Bottom line, there was no guarantee the lift could be installed before candidating week and do we really want a construction zone in both the sanctuary and the social hall during that exciting week?
So, with the Board’s approval, the Lift Committee will be signing a contract with the contractors on March 25th to begin work on July 1st. Sweet Pea will still be in session but class sizes are smaller and they will more easily be able to work around the construction zone in the social hall. Most of WSUU’s small groups take the summer off so the contractors will have more undisturbed access. The lift will be done by mid-August, if all goes well. If there are snags, it will still be done by Ingathering in September. The Lift Committee will be providing more information on progress we are making by May 1st and again at the Annual Meeting in June.
Patti McCall with Judi Finney and Mark Olsoe