Building Steering Committee Update – September 9th

The Building Steering Committee met for the 2nd time formally last Thursday.  One of the things we discussed was the need to communicate effectively with you as council and with the parish, at large.  To that end, we committed to a bi-weekly update of our weekly meetings (and any additional meetings that may fall in that two-week period).  We are began (as you might have noticed) a regular building bulletin insert to keep the parish updated.  These weekly inserts may include everything from scheduling info about meetings, to photos, to inspirational points that relate to the building project and our work.       

So here is the bi-weekly digest from our Building Steering Committee; we will ask our secretary to file these bi-weekly reports into the minutes of parish council as part of our ongoing reporting to the council:……..  I apologize for the length.  I expect the rest to be far shorter.  I can’t emphasize, too, how important your participation in our upcoming parish council meeting (Sept. 18) will be.  I invite incoming parish council members to attend as observers, just so you can be brought on board as expeditiously as possible.     fr. j
Bi-Weekly Building Steering Committee Report to Council (Sept. 9, 2012):

During our August 31st meeting, the Building Steering Committee discussed the process of architect selection.  We spoke about the many architects our parish has had dealings with over the last seven years (Andrew Gould of SC, Bob Latsko of Michigan, Alex Chrisophorides of Ohio, Tony Bayus of Louisville, Deacon James Byrant of WA, and even Chris Kamages of Greek fame).  We have, to varying degrees, followed these architects’ careers, and observed both strengths and weaknesses. During this first meeting, there was strong consensus in our group that Tom Smith is a clear front-runner.  Some of the things that jumped out to us about Tom were:

  1. He is local
  2. He is Orthodox and thus has practical knowledge of our liturgics
  3. He has intimate knowledge of the subtleties of bluegrass architecture.
  4. He designed the most beautiful Orthodox Church in KY (St George Chapel, Louisville)
  5. He has demonstrated a clear commitment to the project through his volunteer time
  6. He personally works well with the building steering committee
  7. He comes highly recommended to us (via Fr. Alexander Atty particularly)

There was consensus among the committee members that, provided Tom “checks out,” we would be inclined to put forward Tom Smith to the council as the sole “recommended candidate.” But, before we could do that, we wanted to do some homework.  Father Justin was asked to speak with both Tom Smith and Fr. Alexander Atty about a variety of questions the BSC identified in its meeting.  In addition, at that first meeting, the BSC discussed various housekeeping issues related to the property, such as a property work day, mowing arrangements, and we began exploring options on “future home” signage for the new property.

During our meeting on September 6th, a week later, the BSC began its lunch with a half-hour conference call to Fr. Alexander Atty, current Dean of St Tikhon’s Seminary and former rector of St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Louisville, Ky who worked closed with with Tom Smith during the construction of the St. George Chapel on their campus. Fr. Alexander was very candid. He noted that while all good architects and artists have strong opinions about what and how things need to happen, when there were differences with Tom, he was always willing to come up with a “Plan B” that satisfied him as well as met the needs of St. Michael’s, especially when it involved a budget constraint.  Fr. Atty also noted that there were no major conflicts during the St. George Chapel project .  Father praised Tom’s communication skills, noting also his strengths listening to and presenting to people.  Fr. Atty emphasized his strong belief that our project would be well-served in selecting Tom and that Tom, who is an Orthodox Christian, has the experience and talent we need to build a church campus.  In the general scope of our Building Project, Fr. Atty  encouraged us to have Tom Smith provide 2 preliminary designs choose from early in the project and work with him to develop a phased project for the design we choose. Our conversation with Fr. Alexander Atty only confirmed our growing sense that Tom Smith is the architect we should hire for our building project.
Fr. Justin the reported on his lunch meeting with Tom Smith (Tuesday, Sept. 4).  Tom is preparing some slides of his work for our parishioners to review.
including those about about previous projects (EKU Performing Arts Center; local libraries, etc.)
Tom believes our timetable of breaking ground by June is doable, provided we move on things by October.
Tom discussed basic timeline questions with Father (e.g., two months for hashing out first draft; one month for state to approve everything, etc.) If we are able to do this he indicated he be able to get us renderings before Nativity for mailings and signage

The BSC spent most of the remainder of our time discussing a timeline in light of the geotech-inspired goal of breaking ground in June or July.  A basic timetable will be proposed to parish council:

  • Wed. Sept 12: Moleben on Property, Clean-up, and Picnic
  • Wed. Sept. 19: Building Needs document review meeting (w/ prep for parish and stewards before hand)
  •  Wed. Sept. 26: Talk on Theology of Orthodox Temple by Matushka Tamara
  • Wed. Oct. 3: Tentative Talk from Architect Tom Smith (re-introduction to parish)

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