History of the Current Expansion Plans

Written by Barry Munsell on . Posted in Building Plans

The current property was deeded to the Valley Church of Christ in 1976.  By 1977 the church had built only the basement of the "fellowship" side of the current structure and was meeting there.  Active membership at the time was around 50.

In the early 1980's the current "fellowship hall" was added above ground and became the auditorium.  Later, two enclosed "ATCO" trailers were attached to the back for classrooms.  Active membership was around 80 at that time.

In 1992 the church built the current auditorium and basement classrooms.  The old building was not required to match the newer codes as long as the connection between the buildings was kept to a minimum.  That is why we have such a skinny hallway between our auditorium and fellowship hall.  At this time active membership was around 100.

 

By the end of 1999 the congregation, which now had 150 active members, was able to completely pay off the loan on the current auditorium.

In 1999 and into 2000 the congregation continued to grow so quickly that it became obvious that a larger building would be needed within several years.

By 2001, with active membership at 180, the current building lacked room in all areas: auditorium, fellowship, classrooms, children's needs, storage, offices and parking and also lacked handicap accessibility.  With all areas needing expansion and improvement, a group of interested men was asked to look into addressing the issues, either by enlarging our existing meeting space or acquiring a larger space.

Addressing the Facility Problem

  • Over the next few years this group of interested men took steps to address the issues.
    • In order to maximize our utilization of our current building, pews were replaced with chairs to improve seating options, fill dirt was brought in to expand the useable land area and expand the parking lot and classroom walls were moved where needed.
    • Concurrently the men's group researched and considered different options for expanding within our current property and several determinations were made:
      • Due to upgrades needed to meet current codes for fire suppression sprinkler systems and electrical systems, as well as needed upgrades for handicap accessibility, it was not cost-effective to add all of the needed spaces to the existing building.
      • An interim project to expand only the auditorium was considered and rejected because the cost verses the benefits seemed so poor; again because of code required upgrades. 
      • It was also thought that, while enlarging the auditorium would allow for more growth, it would actually exacerbate problems with crowded classrooms, fellowship areas and entry/foyer areas as well as overall poor handicap access.
    • The idea of building a new structure on our current property and removing the existing structures was also examined and rejected due to what was thought to be the high costs of meeting the following challenges:
      • The existing well supplying both the building and water district might be insufficient to support a larger building and the required full sprinkler system.
      • The current septic system would probably be insufficient also and need to be replaced.
      • The lower areas of the existing property are boggy and might require extensive excavation and fill in order to provide sufficient build-able land.
      • Large amounts of fill material would be required in order bring the land up to a high enough level to use for parking.
      • The old structures might not survive an attempt to move them and end up having to be torn down and hauled off.
  • Since the benefits of adding on to the existing structures or building new on the current property did not seem to outweigh the costs, the men's group met and discussed the option of selling the current property and building at a new location.  With that idea in mind, in 2004 the congregation was polled and found to favor the idea of selling our current property and constructing a new building at a new location.
  • Numerous searches found no good, affordable property on which to build.  An attempt was even made to purchase land near our current building but that failed due to neighborhood covenants that excluded any commercial use including church buildings.
  • Further discussion determined that land within a public water district such as Wasilla would best provide the infrastructure needed support a new building with a sprinkler system but at the time no affordable property in this area could be found.
  • In 2005 a donor pledged 4.5 acres to the church for the building of a new facility.  Located diagonally across from Home Depot on the newPalmer-Wasilla Hwyextension the property is on the edge of the newly planned Wasilla city center and within the Wasilla water district.
  • The current Facility Steering Committee was formed in fall 2006 and began work on the details of a new building and the needed financing. 
    • Over the next 2 years the Committee met 28 times to create and refine building plans with an architect, to make plans for funding of the project and to set up the sale of the current building with a
    • Based on square foot costs, initial estimates set the cost of a new building at a minimum of $4 million.
  • By 2008, with over 210 persons gathering regularly in our auditorium, the building size was even more critically inadequate.

Financial Plan

  • The financial plan for the new facility had three parts.
  1. 1.Fund $1 million through directed giving from the congregation.  With $1 million up-front the project could be started as soon as possible, construction loan interest expenses would be minimized and the church would be in a good position to seek a bank loan if needed.
  2. 2.Sell the existing building for $1.5-1.8 million.  In order to have a place to meet, we ask for a lease-back option as part of the sale, but would not hold up a sale if this was not possible.
  3. 3.Seek a bank loan for the balance needed to finish construction up to $1 million.  In order to prepare to make the payments on a loan, $11,000 per month will need to be added to the church budget.