Congregational Info Session #7 – 011418

The Building Committee held our 7th Congregational Info Session this past Sunday January 14 at both 945AM and 1100AM.  Updates on the land development process were provided along with an overview of our final Phase 1 building footprint of 61,370 SF.   A summary of the September 2017 congregational survey options were reviewed with the corresponding results of what will be included in Phase 1 versus delayed for a later phase of construction or potentially reduced in scope in order to stay within our Phase 1 budget constraints.

The major change within the final Phase 1 footprint was the reorientation of the youth space, childrens’ space and gym, with these segments of the building all turned 90 degrees from their previous layout and aligned side by side.  A family restroom was added off the gathering area, several of the LLLC rooms are now designated to be shared by the church nursery on Sunday mornings, and the depiction of storage areas throughout the building are now better defined.  Some restrooms have been reduced in size or eliminated to lower costs, and the beginning considerations for ceiling and flooring finish options were presented.

Andrew Reese graciously videotaped the 945AM presentation for us.  A link to that video is available on the CUMC website.  The powerpoint used during this presentation may be viewed by clicking on the following link.  Session #7 Powerpoint for BC Blog.011418



Carlisle Borough Council Approves our Final Land Development Plans!!

At last evening’s Carlisle Borough Council meeting our land development plans for the Spring Garden Campus received final unanimous approval!   This completes the necessary approval process with the Borough, and gets us part way towards breaking ground for our new facility late this coming summer.

To their credit, the Borough conceded several points along the way as we in turn compromised to reach this point in the process.  The Borough agreed to a 30-foot width for East Baltimore Street as opposed to the traditional 36-foot width, waived the requirement for street trees, and likewise agreed to our proposal to install sidewalk on only the south side of East Baltimore Street and its culdesac that we must build.  They also agreed to our waiver request regarding the slope of our driveway as it meets the culdesac in terms of sight distance (which helps us minimize costly rock excavation) and approved our waiver request that these land development plans be considered both preliminary and final at the same time.

Several potential issues that concerned us from the beginning of our land development process were avoided in their entirety.  These included a potential upgrade of the East Pomfret Street / South Spring Garden Street traffic signal; a potential sight distance issue to the south of the East Baltimore Street / South Spring Garden Street intersection; and possible storm water management improvements at this same intersection as it will receive an increased volume of water resulting from our building East Baltimore Street and its culdesac.  The potential cost to the church of the above exceeded $250,000; thus we thank God that such issues have been avoided!

A final request we are making to the Borough is the waiving of a one-time “Recreation Fee”.  This fee is based upon acreage, and in our case is estimated at $1,600.  We believe the fee should be waived because we are doing no development whatsoever on the Borough portion of our property with the exception of building East Baltimore Street ON BEHALF OF the Borough.

Carlisle Borough Planning Commission Approves Land Development Plans

Last evening we went before the Planning Commission of the Borough of Carlisle requesting approval of the Final Land Development Plans for our new facility.  Borough staff had comments on our plans, which we will incorporate, and with that said recommended approval of them.  The Planning Commission likewise approved our plans with the caveat that we incorporate Borough staff’s comments, and will in turn recommend approval of them to Borough Council.  With two exceptions we readily agreed to all of their comments.  We requested waivers from two Borough ordinances regarding the slope of East Baltimore Street as it crests the ridge of rock at the entrance to our property (to minimize the associated costly rock excavation), and the requirement to install curb and sidewalk around the full perimeter of East Baltimore Street and its culdesac that we will build, pay for, and then ultimately dedicate to the Borough (dedication of this street to the Borough means they will assume all ongoing maintenance, snow removal, street sweeping, etc of the street in perpetuity).

Following additional discussion with Borough staff last night and this morning we were able to reach agreement to accept our proposed road and driveway slopes which do in fact meet the Borough’s sight distance requirements.  We also agreed to include a stop sign (for exiting traffic) at the end of our driveway where it meets the East Baltimore Street culdesac.  As to the sidewalk requirement, we reached a compromise agreement to provide sidewalk on the south side of East Baltimore Street only, plus depress the curb line on the north side of the culdesac to facilitate snow plowing by the Borough.  A preliminary drawing depicting these features may be viewed by clicking here.  21505403-LDE-PO-LY01-E Baltimore-Walk

All in all we are pleased with this outcome.  Our next step in the Borough permitting process will be to receive Borough Council approval of our Land Development plans at their January 11, 2018 meeting.

Our December 19, 2017 presentation to the South Middleton Township Planning Commission was tabled as a result of administrative comments from SMT staff, and rescheduled for January 16, 2018.

May you all have a most joyous and blessed Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!!

Tree Planting at SGC

As a result of several municipal ordinances that we must abide by at our new facility, we are required to plant a substantial amount of trees as part of the construction of our Spring Garden Campus.  Believe it or not, at present we are tasked to plant a minimum of 176 trees of various types and sizes to supplement the trees already on our property for which unfortunately no significant credit can be taken.

Now I love green space and trees as much as the next person, but this substantial requirement for tree planting does seem a bit excessive!  Nonetheless, it’s a requirement that we must fulfill, and it thereby provides a unique opportunity for our congregation to give back to our church, our community, and the environment as we enhance God’s creation that we are calling our Spring Garden Campus.

If you click on the following two drawings from our Land Development submission, the details of the types, quantities and locations of trees that we will be planting are depicted:     25 – LANDSCAPING PLAN  26 – LANDSCAPING PLAN    You’ll see that trees are required to be planted to provide screening for existing neighboring residential properties, and are also required to landscape our driveway and parking areas.  As a result, these obligations present us with two different timetables to plant trees; ie, we can plant the required screening trees at our discretion because they will be located in areas not subject to our upcoming construction, whereas the landscaping trees cannot be planted until the site grading and paving preparation is completed, and the parking lot raised landscape islands are created.

With those timetables in mind, and at the suggestion of our Landscape Architect based upon his work with other churches, the Building Committee proposes that our congregation take on the project of donating and planting trees ourselves to the glory of God and in honor of various persons and families, and/or in memory of those saints who have gone before us.  Pastor Mira has agreed to begin planning for such a project so more details will follow in early 2018, but our preliminary thoughts are to offer three different opportunities for our congregation to purchase and plant trees together on specific family days at the SGC.

Arbor Day 2018 is April 27 which is a Friday.  So that weekend of April 28 – 29, 2018 could be our first planting time for the screening plantings along our property lines as shown on the landscaping plans.  Next, for those who like to purchase live Christmas trees, or wish to do so next Christmas with the intention of subsequently donating them, we could plant those live evergreens in late December 2018, also along our property lines to serve as screening, and at other locations around the campus not subject to ongoing building and paving construction at that time.  Arbor Day 2019 is Friday April 26, so the weekend of April 27 – 28, 2019 should serve as our first opportunity to plant all kinds of trees defined on the plans in the landscape islands of our parking lot as well as along our driveway.

Please be advised that while we don’t intend to use plaques or other markings to signify trees planted in honor or memory of someone, we will keep records and as-built drawing locations of each tree that is planted so that the legacy of your gift can be maintained.  Please prayerfully consider joining us in this endeavor, and look for more details this spring from Pastor Mira!









Upcoming Field Work at Spring Garden Campus and Meeting Dates

Today we’ve finalized the schedule for the geotechnical  test boring work at our Spring Garden Campus.  It will be completed the week of December 18 thanks to the firms we’re working with squeezing us in before Christmas to support our design schedule. 

The field survey stakeout of the boring locations is scheduled for Friday December 15 and will be completed by Dawood Engineering.  CGC Geoservices is our test boring contractor, and the drill crew should be on site Monday December 18 thru Thursday December 21.  30 shallow probe borings will be drilled to investigate the rock conditions along the alignment of our underground utilities between South Spring Garden Street and our new building location.  11 borings with soil sampling and rock coring will be completed within the building footprint itself to determine foundation design conditions.  I’ll be with the drill crew to log the results much of the time, but not full-time.  The drill crew are former employees of mine, and will be clearing access to the boring locations as needed as their gift to the church at no charge.  We also received discounted pricing for the work.  The boring locations can be viewed by clicking on the following link   CUMC BORING LOCATIONS

The structural design of our building has begun, and the initial concept includes masonry block load bearing walls for the two wings of the building, and steel frame for the central gathering space and worship center.  Steel bar joists and trusses will be used to support the roof, and a combination of aluminum stud / drywall and CMU (concrete masonry units) block will be utilized for interior walls.  Preliminary mechanical design includes all rooftop HVAC units with most ductwork above the ceilings, but likely some intentionally exposed spiral ductwork in the gathering area along with an open painted exposed steel ceiling in that portion of the building to complement the natural look of the two story glass walls front and back.

This week we’ve received a positive completeness review from South Middleton Township for our land development package and are scheduled to go before their Planning Commission on December 19.  Likewise, we are scheduled to make our presentation to the Borough of Carlisle Planning Commission on December 21.  Approval from both municipalities is required to begin our permitting process.  Your prayers on those particular dates for receptive hearts and minds will be appreciated.

The Building Committee has scheduled our next Congregational Information Sessions for SUNDAY JANUARY 14, 2018 from 945 – 1045AM in the Sanctuary and from 1100AM – 1200PM in the MPR.  At that time the final floor plans will be presented along with a budget breakdown of what will be included in our Phase 1 project versus what will be delayed until a future phase.



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!!