November Notes

There is a lot happening in our building this month. Jason has three important things to share. Watch this short video for details. You'll be glad you did!

Kicking into High Gear

Kicking into High Gear

Now that much of the “underbelly” work has been completed, significant visible progress can seen around our RFM project. New windows have been installed on the second floor and have completely changed the feel from inside the classrooms. Splash is going to love all the natural light that now pours in! The second (south) hallway wall has been removed, so the size of our future “family room” has now come into view. Finally, excavators have begun to move dirt across the street, and are pushing to complete our new parking lot in the next month. Things are happening pretty fast now...it’s awesome!

The race is now on to beat our Michigan weather. Once the exposed brick and second floor joists are sealed, windows will then be installed on the first floor. The footings for our new south entrance and north stair tower will be dug very soon so those structures can go up and be closed in before winter. At that point, the bulk of the work moves inside for the winter, when contractors will start on interior projects such as our new cafe and restrooms.

Make sure you drive by on Michigan Avenue to see the new windows and take a peek through the viewing window next time you’re at church! As always, thanks for your continued prayers for the project.

What's Going on Behind That Wall?

The bathrooms and east balcony stairwell in the auditorium have now been removed to make way for access into our "Family Room" through the North Tower. Next up: we'll be pouring footings for the tower soon so we can start building upward!

We've made alot of progress in just a little over a month! After an initial round of demolition, the focus turned to less visibile, foundational parts of our project. A completely new roof on the main building is nearly complete. Support pads for the columns that will hold up the second floor have been poured. The construction team has started to install temporary bracing so the hallway walls can be taken down next week (you should be able to see this progress through our viewing window soon!).

In addition to the shape of our new Family Room coming into focus, you will start seeing more visible progress on the project. Second-floor window replacement will begin the week of September 18, and excavators will be starting on our new parking lot on October 1! Our construction manager, Mark, says the project is moving along as planned and is on schedule. Thanks for all your prayers and patience!

Plan Ahead - Restrooms Closed!

So, demolition is set to begin on the new north tower entrance! While that is VERY exciting news, it also means we lost access to the restrooms in the auditorium lobby. The walls closing off those bathrooms went up this week, so you may want to plan ahead -- if you need to use the restroom, you'll have to exit the auditorium and walk down the sidewalk to the Four Corners. We know it isn't terribly convenient, but hey, you can grab some donuts and coffee while you're down there. Thank you again for your patience as we navigate all the challenges that come with such a large construction project. We're grateful for your support and excited that you've chosen to take this journey with us!

Check out this cool time lapse of the construction walls going up, closing off the auditorium bathrooms!

Look What We Found

Construction is filled with surprises -- some good and others, less so. But we recently had two very cool surprises. First, we found out that we were going to be able to expose and keep some additional brick walls that we originally thought would need to be torn down. Then, while exposing the brick, we found this treasure... 

Signed brick from 1924.jpg

This brick is signed and clearly dated August 21, 1921. The first name is harder to decipher, but it could be "Chas." The last name is clearly "Johnson." How cool is it that we uncovered this treasure almost 93 years to the day that it was signed!?! 

This isn't the only historical treasure we've found recently. Check back soon for more!

A Quick Tour

It's only been two weeks since demolition and our groundbreaking. Watch this short, two-minute video for a quick tour of all the work that's already taken place. You can see the new "family room" taking shape and just how large and open it will be. You can also see the location of the new south and north entrances that will help with traffic flow in and out of the building on Sundays.

As we watch the walls come down and begin to imagine the finished project, we can't help but feel amazed and grateful that God has chosen Freshwater for this journey, in this community, with this body of believers! 

Full Speed Ahead!

Full Speed Ahead!

Thank you to everyone who attended our groundbreaking and Next Steps Sunday on July 30. We are officially underway, and construction is surging forward at full speed! 

Future family room looking back toward our new cafe and restrooms.

Future family room looking back toward our new cafe and restrooms.

This is the size of our new windows that go all the way to the ceiling. Lots of light for our family room!

This is the size of our new windows that go all the way to the ceiling. Lots of light for our family room!

Demo crew has opened up the north side of the building where our new stair tower will go. That's the old 600-second party room!

Demo crew has opened up the north side of the building where our new stair tower will go. That's the old 600-second party room!

Family room space cleared out to new ceiling height! Those are 100-year old floor joists. New windows openings prepped for final measurements.

Family room space cleared out to new ceiling height! Those are 100-year old floor joists. New windows openings prepped for final measurements.

Roofing crew working hard to replace our roof. They're almost half done already!

Roofing crew working hard to replace our roof. They're almost half done already!

Breaking News!

The Train Has Left the Station...
 
We're excited to share that construction is underway! To keep everyone safe, part of the west hallway leading into the auditorium is now blocked off. But don't worry! Watch this video and we'll show you where you need to go. Thanks in advance for your patience and support during this exciting time for our church! If you have any questions, please contact the office at (269) 657-6500.

Village Grants Final Approval!

Great news! We received unanimous approval from the Village Council for our overall site plan and once we submit a few minor revisions required on the drawings, we will receive our building permit. This was our last procedural “hurdle” to being able to press forward on construction. The Village Council was very complimentary of both our plans to refresh this cherished building and our continued commitment to serve our community. They wanted to make sure they would all receive an invite to our future open house!

We have already been granted a demolition permit, so our construction manager, Mark Leathead, is coordinating final schedules to begin “creating some dust.” It looks like we may see some of that initial demolition start to happen before the end of the month. In fact, we’re looking for volunteers to help us with a  “moving day” on Sunday, July 23, after church, as we need to clear our things out of the west end of the hallway. Once that work begins, we’ll also need to route our Sunday foot traffic around the front of the building for Splash access, so stayed tuned for instructions on that. Things are moving and getting exciting!

Praise God for his continued blessing and favor on our project!

Waiting for Village Approval

Breaking ground on our project requires plan review and approval from our local zoning and planning boards. The required documents and drawings have all been submitted and we are now just waiting to receive project approval at two public meetings. These have been scheduled for June 26 and July 6. Our project will require some variances from village ordinances, as well as a special use permit due to the many additional community ministries that operate out of our church. Please PRAY that our church continues to find favor with the village and that our requests are all approved without revisions. This will pave the way for us to finally break ground, hopefully even sometime in July!
 
Next up: Selecting contractors and setting our Guaranteed Maximum Price!
 

More Room for Ministry Partners!

The Annex is looking spiffy for our ministry partners!

The Annex is looking spiffy for our ministry partners!

Have you noticed the face lift happening to our Annex (that’s the separate building next to our office)? In order to begin construction next month, we needed to relocate some of our ministry partners to a different space and the Annex was the perfect place! So we’ve been doing some minor repairs and painting to make that building more suitable for three of our community partners. Paw Paw Community Education, United Christian Services, and Bethany Services will soon find their home in the Annex. All three partners are excited about their new space and we are excited to see our Annex is being transformed into a “hub” of our community center.

 

Meet Our Construction Manager!

Mark Leathead of Bauer Construction Group, LLC. 

Mark Leathead of Bauer Construction Group, LLC. 

We are pleased to introduce our construction manager, Mark Leathead, of Bauer Construction Group, LLC. Mark will be the “point man” for our project and is the perfect guy for the job! Mark attends church regularly and has managed several church construction projects (including his own church), so he understands well the many nuances of our type of project. As Construction Manager (“CM”), Mark will vet all subcontractors to ensure they have the necessary credentials, experience, and capabilities for our project. He will also bridge the gap between architects and contractors to make sure things are completed according to all specifications. In addition to his vast experience and many talents, Mark is a calm, insightful and thorough manager, which has already started to pay off in many ways on our project. We are blessed and excited to have Mark leading our project!

 

Moving Forward

Welcome to the Room for More blog! We'll use this space as a means to share more detailed updates with those of you who have partnered with us in this campaign. 

While there may not seem to be much happening in plain view, many things are happening below the surface, and in the next 90 days, you will begin to see evidence of all the work taking place behind the scenes. 

In March, construction documents were completed. In April, those plans will be sent out for bids. In May, we could select the bids and secure permits. And in June, we could break ground on the construction project. 

That's pretty exciting! It also means, we'll have a lot share with you in the coming weeks. Watch this blog for regular updates. If you have questions, please join us for one of the Q&As we're hosting.