September 2022 Facility Planning Update

Capital Campaign and Construction

Since our last update in July, we have been working steadily on a plan to update Kenilworth Union Church’s facilities, with particular focus on the Warwick Manse. As many of you will recall from the June town hall meetings, our principal goals are to:

  • Improve building access
  • Create high quality spaces for our Youth and Music Ministries
  • Enhance building security—particularly for our children and youth
  • Add flexible, functional, and attractive meeting spaces to meet current and future Church needs
  • Address deferred maintenance in our building systems
  • Restore our financial reserves

We strive to meet these goals in a cost-effective way that best fulfills our Church mission and honors our traditional spaces. To that end many areas of the Church will not be changed, including the Sanctuary, the Culbertson Room, and our beautiful Kenilworth Avenue façade and entrance.

During the summer, our design team held numerous meetings with senior staff, committee chairs, and other Church leaders to create draft floor plans. Thank you all for your feedback!

With the benefit of that input, we are now working on draft schematic design drawings to present to the Board of Trustees and the congregation. This schematic design package will include proposed floor plans, elevations (renderings) and square footages, as well as updated budget estimates.

We hope to schedule the next round of town halls for December or January and gain important additional feedback from the congregation.

As discussed in the June Town Hall, our primary focus has been the Warwick Manse, which has fallen into disrepair and needs to be addressed now. With the help of our consultants, we have spent considerable time evaluating the costs and benefits of renovation versus a new structure. Although the weight of this analysis indicates that a new structure will be the most economical and effective choice, no final decision has been made. We have however, filed for a demolition permit per Village of Kenilworth regulations, in order to make this option possible should that be the direction we take. We recognize that local media coverage may result and want to underscore that no final decisions have been made with respect to the Warwick Manse or any other element of the proposed facility plan. More discussions with the board, the congregation, our neighbors, and the village will occur before any decisions and plans are finalized.

Many have asked about timing, and we hope you appreciate that it is difficult at this stage to provide any firm dates. Many factors impact timing including feedback from our congregation, plan refinements, construction documents and bidding, board approval, advancement of the Capital Campaign, neighbor meetings, and village approvals and permits. We estimate that construction would not likely commence until mid-2023 and will continue to keep you apprised as plans develop.

We are grateful to our congregation members, our senior staff, and our consultants who have provided invaluable guidance in this process to date, and thank our entire Church community for your ongoing input, support, and patience.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to Ann CareyJerry JamesMeg Revord, and/or Peter Schaff.

September 21, 2022

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