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!