On the Drawing Board: Design Options for Improving Our Facilities

By Jean Wallace

The Capital Campaign took a big step forward in January with the hiring of BWA Architecture + Planning to create design choices for improving our building and grounds.

The Building Advisory Committee reviewed proposals from six architectural groups, three of which presented their ideas and qualifications at church. Amid a field of strong candidates, church leaders selected Philadelphia-based BWA based on its creative ideas, breadth of expertise and impressive portfolio, including work with other churches.

The church Board of Trustees signed a $50,000 contract for BWA to draft initial designs, based on priorities in the 2018 Facilities Improvement Team report. The firm will develop plan options, at various price points, for enlarging and improving the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall (e.g., more seats, air conditioning, better audio/visual technology), expanding educational space (for Religious Education and the Rose Tree Day School), enhancing office and meeting space, and adding a kitchen and  parking spaces.

BWA and the Building Advisory Committee will start their collaboration with a series of focus groups to gather more specifics on these priority areas.  The committee has invited several church members and staffers with relevant knowledge, but all are welcome. The initial groups will focus on:


Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall — Monday, Feb. 4, 6-7:30 p.m., Children’s Chapel


Parking and grounds — Feb. 4, 7:30-9 p.m., Children’s Chapel


Offices and meeting rooms — Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10-11:30 a.m., McClennen Lounge


Educational space (Religious Education, Day School) — Feb. 6, 1-2:30 p.m., McClennen Lounge

With gathered input from the committee, staff and focus groups, BWA will develop initial design options, to be ready in late March. Once the committee and church leaders review them, the design choices will be shared with the entire church community. Then, at the May 19 Congregational Meeting, church members will vote on whether to proceed with the Capital Campaign in the fall to raise money for the desired improvements.