On Sunday morning, September 7, I had the opportunity to share the following update with the congregation:
As we enter this new season of ministry at Skyview, the board would like to update you on some developments in the Skyview Home Building Campaign – developments that have taken place since we unveiled the plans at the Commitment Banquet in May.
- First, as you may recall, part of the plan involved selling off a portion of our property in order to gain the necessary capital needed to take on this building project. We recently received an appraisal of our entire land that confirmed a value of $1 million per acre, and perhaps slightly less than this for selling part of our land. We are encouraged with these figures as they closely align with our initial projections.
- Near the end of May the property committee and board received detailed costs on the proposed building structure that was unveiled at our kickoff capital campaign dinner in May. Based on all of the information provided to us in making decisions to this point we were surprised and disappointed to discover that the projected costs were significantly higher (nearly 40%) than either our architectural firm, IBI, or we anticipated. The increase in projected costs can be attributed to two main factors:
- Escalating construction costs – the continued strong economy in Calgary, the faster than expected commercial growth in the city, and the provincial government announcement of a number of school building projects in our city have together made the competition for commercial construction very intense in our city in the coming months and years. These have contributed to far higher construction costs than originally forecasted in our building project.
- A suggestion from IBI mid-stream to consider a two story building that used a smaller footprint rather than a single story larger footprint building, which we were advised would result in cost savings. The end result, however, was a building with a larger square footage overall (by about 20%) and thus notably higher costs.
- As you may also recall, shortly before our commitment banquet at the beginning of May, Pastor Stu announced to the congregation that Rocky Mountain College informed us that they would change their program offerings to an online format and thus would sell this building by May 2015. Several people in our congregation raised the question about purchasing this property as opposed to proceeding with a building project. As a board, we believed we needed to do our due diligence and investigate this possibility. While we have yet to receive a firm asking price from RMC (despite repeated requests), our understanding is that their property appraisal last year was $8.4 million. We seriously explored this possibility including conversations of possible partnership with other organizations however those conversations did not lead to any willing partners. Combined with the uncertainty of the selling price of RMC (and our understanding is that this price will far exceed our available resources), we do not believe the purchase of the RMC property is a fiscally viable option for us.
With all of this unfolding, our board and property committee had a busy summer gathering as much concrete information as we could in order to make the most informed decisions possible; recognizing the significance of potential changes to the project midstream.
The property committee worked with IBI to develop alternate plans that ranged from staying the course in the proposed building project and increasing our budget by 40% to approximately $5.8 million to a multi-phase project that would still require a 30% overrun from our original figures, with no ministry or office space in phase one. We deeply appreciate their efforts on this front – they continue to provide strong and faithful leadership amidst the ebbs and flows in the process. Nevertheless as a board, we believe it would be financially unwise to proceed with any of the presented options; the $3.65 million budget already remains a significant step of faith for our congregation.
So where does that leave us?
First and foremost, we want to reiterate how grateful we are for the very generous response of many towards the Skyview Home Building Campaign. Almost $450,000 has been pledged towards the building project and that represents a significant commitment to seeing Skyview move into a permanent home for a ministry to our community.
At our most recent board meeting, we discussed many options and decided to explore a different building technique – a steel structure. Based on some preliminary explorations this is a construction option that could potentially bring us much closer in line with our budget all the while enabling us to meet the much desired ministry space needs. As we receive more details on this possibility, as well as next steps, we will be sure to communicate with the congregation and to solicit feedback as warranted.
We readily admit that based on the information provided to us throughout the process this is an unforeseen turn in the road, however, we are holding steadfast in faith and trust in God that He is and continues to lead us on this remarkable journey. Above all, know that we are excited about what God is doing in people’s lives in and through Skyview, and we eagerly anticipate Pastor Stu sharing about the emerging vision this fall – a vision for this community that has
organically grown and developed from within.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Skyview Home Building Campaign, do not hesitate to contact any of the following individuals:
- Joel Thiessen (Board Secretary) - [email protected]
- Hubert Howe (Property Committee Chair) – [email protected]
- Riley Coulter (Capital Campaign Chair) - [email protected]
Grace and peace.
Joel Thiessen (Board Secretary)