In the past 7 days we’ve accomplished some significant milestones in the progress of our new church design!  On the day before Thanksgiving we submitted our Land Development package of site plans, design calculations, storm water management analyses, traffic impact analysis, environmental impact study, etc. to the Planning Commissions of the following entities:  Borough of Carlisle; South Middleton Township; Cumberland County and the Letort Regional Authority.  Yesterday we submitted packages to the Cumberland County Conservation District and the PA Department of Environmental Protection specific to detailed storm water management permitting (called an NPDES permit), and also sent a land development package to the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) for their review as our new church falls within a flight path to nearby Carlisle Regional Airport.

The drawing package alone related to these submittals is 28 full sheets (24″ x 36″ in size), and the associated application forms, reports, calculations, etc resulted in a sizable stack of paper representing a tremendous amount of work by our civil engineer, architect, landscape architect and others.  The cover sheet and a typical sheet within the package can be viewed by clicking on the links below to give you an idea of the level of detail that has gone into this design:


With these submissions we have commenced the permitting phase of our project which we anticipate will last a minimum of 6 months.  We expect to go before the Carlisle Planning Commission and South Middleton Planning Commission at their December meetings, where we provide a brief presentation of our project following which we’ll receive the questions and comments from each board.  If there are items that we must address (which is most often the case) we’ll make the changes and return to these boards in January.  Following their ultimate approval we must then go before the Carlisle Borough Council and South Middleton Supervisors in a similar fashion, month by month.  The other entities listed above will respond to us with written comments, and likely we’ll have separate meetings with them to resolve any concerns.  As you can see on the cover sheet link above, there are MANY signatures of approval ultimately required before we can move forward to construction.

Meanwhile our detailed building design phase has commenced, and our numerous additional consultants have begun to get involved representing structural engineering, MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) engineering, geotechnical engineering, kitchen design and AVL (audio, video, lighting).  We identified the firms on our design team for structural, MEP and kitchen in our November 6 blog post.  We’re now pleased to report that our AVL consultant will be Spire AVL of Carlisle, with our very own Chris Gregory leading that effort on behalf of Spire.  Our geotechnical engineer will be some guy in our church who happens to have a background in that area.  Geotechnical engineers design drilling programs of test borings to assess the site soil, rock and groundwater conditions, define the foundation requirements for the building, design pavements, fix sinkholes and oversee all of the site work during construction to ensure that earthwork, foundations and paving are installed correctly.  Now that the soybeans have been harvested on our property, the drilling program will be the next physical investigation of our site and should be completed in December.

Weekly one-hour conference calls in a GoToMeeting format for the full design team began this week involving all of our consultants, architects, contractors and ourselves (as owner representative).  Website protocols have been established where we can all upload/download our drawings, reports and other information to share with each other as the design progresses.  Its an excellent use of available technology to streamline the design process and keep everyone up to date along the way.  As you’ll no doubt agree, its ALWAYS a good thing when the left hand understands what the right hand is doing (and vice versa) instead of each specialty working alone in a silo by itself!

We’re very close now to finalizing the building design at the floor plan level.  We’ve established a Phase 1 building footprint of 61,370 SF, with a total buildout of just under 70,000 SF.  Depending upon finances, our objective is to build the entire Phase 1 building defined above and depicted on the land development plans.  Real time pricing of that Phase 1 building and associated site development is a work in progress as the detailed design evolves and increasingly accurate pricing is obtained as a result.  At the same time, our negotiations with key subcontractors and vendors continue, but please understand that such negotiations take time.  At this point our goal is to have our pricing and funding reasonably resolved in December, and after Leadership Council approval of the design and financials, schedule our next Congregational Information Session in January to present the details and final scope of the project.

Your prayers and patience in the meantime are much appreciated by the BC.  And your prayers for positive outcomes during our many upcoming permitting meetings with the municipalities and regulators are also requested.  As we CELEBRATE the birth of our Savior in the weeks ahead, lets also remember to GIVE THANKS to God for the continual stream of blessings we’re receiving as our new church facility gets closer and closer to reality!


Where do things stand following our late September vote?

I apologize for the long delay in updating this BC Latest blog.  Just havn’t had time to keep up with it like I should.  By now all should know that CUMC voted on September 24 to approve our Master Plan for the Spring Garden Campus, and gave preliminary approval for our Medium Build option and financial plan which will result in three consecutive capital campaigns, the first of which is ongoing.   A congregational survey of phasing options for our campus was distributed as well, the results of which were announced at the October 15 Church Hall meeting.

Based upon the outcome of the September 24 vote, the BC has been studying the results of the congregational survey and working hard to finalize a Phase 1 site design and building design that will meet the approved budget.  Please understand that at this juncture in the design process there are many, many, many moving parts that we are working to resolve.  And those resolutions take time.

We have had preliminary meetings with Carlisle Borough staff and South Middleton staff to review our site design and receive initial informal comments.  We have likewise met with the Cumberland County Conservation District to review our storm water management plan and receive initial comments.  All of these meetings have gone well, with productive comments and suggestions.  The requirements of each entity that we must adhere to are extensive and for the most part reasonable.  There are several items for which we may request waivers and exceptions, such as a full sidewalk around the entire perimeter of E. Baltimore Street and its culdesac that we must build.  Through these meetings we’ve also learned that in 2018 the Borough will be replacing the sewer line and manholes in South Spring Garden Street to which we will connect.  Knowing that our project will be forthcoming, the Borough has agreed to provide a manhole connection for us in the new system.  They have likewise agreed to a 30-foot-width for E. Baltimore Street instead of the standard 36 feet, will possibly consider a reduced diameter culdesac, and waived the requirement for street trees.  We do however have to provide curbs, sidewalks, fire hydrants and street lights along E. Baltimore Street.

It appears that UGI will cover the cost of extending their gas service up E. Baltimore Street for us, and will install our church natural gas service with the caveat that we provide the trenching and backfilling of the trench for them.  We’ve also been advised by South Middleton that we must only plant trees along our boundary with the Dawn Ridge housing development to our north, and the individual homes directly abutting our property to the west.  This is wonderful news as we thought we would also have to plant trees along our entire southern property line, but that requirement has been waived due to the industrial zoning of the remaining portion of Smith Farm to the south.  Where currently vacant lots exist along our western boundary we also do not have to plant trees.

On the advice of our landscape architect we will be providing the church with several opportunities to donate and plant trees ourselves in the months ahead to meet this requirement.  Stay tuned for more details connected with re-planting live Christmas trees in January and planting other types of trees around Arbor Day in late April.  Be thinking about planting a tree in honor of a family member or those saints that have gone on before us, and watching it grow in the years ahead as our campus grows.  A list of approved trees and minimum sizes of trees will be provided to us.

Our storm water management permit application (called an NPDES permit) and Land Development Plans (depicts all of our site features, grading, building and parking layout, storm water management, landscaping, recreational fields, etc) are both getting close to completion and will be submitted in November.   A 6 – 9 month approval process on these permits is anticipated if all goes well.  We will not file for a Building Permit until the building design is completely finalized following our Final Congregational Approval vote anticipated to be held on March 25, 2018.  Thus we remain on schedule for a late Summer 2018 start of construction, but please understand that all of this is subject to change as the permit approval process unfolds.

The building design development has begun which is the next step following schematic design.  That work is concurrent with the BC, architect and contractor working together to adjust the Phase 1 design to the construction budget.  A landscape architect, structural engineer, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) engineer have all been engaged along with a kitchen consultant following review and approval of their proposals by CUMC.  Our landscape architect is Craig Bachik of Navarro & Wright in Harrisburg who is contracted directly to CUMC.  Contracted under Waldon Studio are the following: MEP Engineer is Sharpe Engineers of Lancaster; Structural Engineer is WZG Engineers of Limerick; and kitchen consultant is Clark Food Service Equipment of Lancaster.

We are currently meeting with various potential subcontractors and vendors of construction materials working to negotiate discounts and donations towards our project which can in turn benefit the donor as tax deductions.  This is a time consuming process but can obviously benefit our construction budget if successful.

We know that many of you are wondering when we will announce the final decisions as to what components of the project will be included in Phase 1 of the project vs those that will not.   At this time we cannot provide an answer to that question because we ourselves simply do not know.  As previously stated there are multiple moving parts in play right now with respect to:  partial building redesign of the western building wing (adults/community; youth; gym; children; kitchen); budget issues; revenue sources; building phasing, etc, and until all are resolved we will not have final answers for you.

The congregational survey results are serving as an excellent guide in our work, but please understand that we cannot address any individual building component or feature within it until we are able to do so IN TOTAL for the entire project.  In this regard, the BC, Architect and Contractor must first fully develop our recommendations to the LC for Phase 1 of the project thinking from the perspective of the long term best interests of the church to create a flexible cost-effective building and campus that will serve CUMC well for the next 50 – 100 years.  Next we must seek concurrence and approval from our Leadership Council of the recommended Phase 1 project.  Then we will schedule Congregational Info sessions to announce the end results.

We crave your patience and prayers in the meantime as we work through these many, many issues at this time.  But we trust that the details above inform you that LOTS has been happening in recent months, with much more to come.  And God continues to direct our path and faithfully lead us.  Thanks be to God!!