The steel frame of the new church and community centre is now complete, and construction of external and internal walls is underway – including the reconstruction of the original stone arches which are forming part of the interior of the building. Assembly of the auditorium roof structure is due to begin next week. The programme is currently nine weeks behind schedule, mainly due to the delay in obtaining planning consent for the work on the north wall combined with the recent bad weather. The wall is nearly finished and the scaffold canopies will soon be removed. The shell of the building is due to be completed in mid-July.
The cost of completing the shell is expected to increase from £2.2m to £2.5m, which combined with an estimated £2.1m to fit out the new building, takes the total cost for the new building to £4.6m. The other elements of the project (refurbishment of the existing church building and Old School Rooms and the tithe) are currently estimated at £900K in total – although these figures are subject to varia- tion as the work progresses.
The estimated cost of the overall project remains at £5.5m.
The project Steering Group has been investigating how to prevent any gap between completion of the shell and proceeding to fit-out – in order to avoid the substantial costs associated with the contractors leaving the site between the phases, and to bring the building into use as soon as possible.
The Steering Group and DCC (church council) are considering various options of securing non-commercial loans to cover the immediate £300k shortfall and the cost (approximately £700k) of installing mechanical and electrical fittings. Any such loans would be secured with very favourable repayment terms and/or rates of interest, and represent a low risk.
The DCC will be considering this issue at their meeting on 10th March. Please pray for wisdom for the Heart of the Community Steering Group and the DCC, for all concerned in the discussions, and for a unity of heart and mind in seeking the way forward. Please continue to pray for the provision of the funds needed, thanking God that so far we have always had money in the bank whenever we have needed to pay the bills!