I last talked to you back in March and I know that you have been wondering what was going on.
Our goal going into the spring was to nail down a price for constructing the first phase of our new building so that we could move forward with on site work this fall. Working with F E Contracting of Palmer we finalized our building plans and had an architect draw up rough elevations. With that information in hand, F E was able to get a quote from a steel building company and give us a first phase estimate.
As background information, since we don't have all the cash in hand to complete a building, we have been working from the premise that we needed to build in phases as funds became available. In that vein we have considered two general approaches. One, the one we have been working on, is to build a whole shell as a first phase and then finish the interior in sections. The other option being that we would build a smaller section to completion, like the auditorium and then add on other sections, classroom and fellowship wings, as funds became available.
We've been working on the first approach, building a whole shell as a first phase, because in the end it is the more efficient approach, but it all depends on being able to afford the first phase. Our hope, wish if you will, going into this had been that we would be able to do all the development and site work, erect the whole shell and finish the auditorium and at least some classroom spaces for under $2 million. We figured that with those spaces we would have a facility that we could move into and since it would be rough, we would be motivated to finish the rest of the building.
Money wise, to get to the $2 million point would have meant more giving on our part and going to the bank to borrow the difference between what we could give and the $1 million we have now.
Well, the 1st phase estimate we got from F E Contracting was for $1.46 million which doesn't sound that bad until you read the fine print. The estimate was only for a basic insulated shell with a finished exterior and roof and a one walk in door. It did not include any other doors, windows, floors, or even any site work. Adding in basic development and site work costs easily take the total to $2 million and remember, that's just for a shell with no finished interior spaces, no spaces that we could use.
I confess that at this point I got discouraged even though I should know better. You see, many people have told us that we should expect a finished building to cost at least $150/sq. ft. and this is actually the 3rd estimate that we have gotten from contractors over the years and all of the estimates have pointed in that direction. But I have hoped that someway we could come up with a different answer.
We face the reality that if we want to hire a contractor to build us a finished 25,000 sq.ft. building we face construction costs that can easily go over $3.5 million. and just a first phase price that could run to $2.5 million.
So, faced with this challenge, we are in the process of regrouping. We aren't quitting or giving up, but we are going back to re-examine our options. How should we approach phased construction? Should we look at just building an auditorium? Should we be our own general contractors? And even, where we should build, on the new property or here on the old property?
I want you know upfront that deciding to not build on the new property is serious because that gift is only ours as a place for us to build, it isn't in anyway ours to sell. If we don't build there, we reject the gift and the gift was given by people who love the church here in the valley.
But as I have said, no decision has been made; we are simply at a point, as frustrating as it may be where we need more information. We need to be able to compare the development and site work costs for both locations. We need to examine ourselves and see if we are willing to commit to being our own general contractor. We need to have a better idea of what our budget is. If we can move forward at $1.5 million level we can build an auditorium and restrooms. If we can move forward at a $2 million level obviously we can plan to build more.
In conclusion I just want you to know that we are still moving forward and are doing so carefully, fully aware that we will have to live with whatever we build for a long time.