Accessibility Building Project Updates

Accessibility Capital Campaign Summary

Back in a special congregational meeting on November 8, 2015, this congregation voted to raise $500,000 in a Capital Campaign to make our building more accessible. The Standing Committee sees the work as divisible into three major tasks.

  1. Architectural, to design and implement building upgrades. 
  2. Fundraising, to raise moneyto fund the upgrades.
  3. Financial, to oversee budgets, track expenditures, and coordinate payments neededbefore we receive all the money pledged to the upgrades.

The architectural task force is being chaired by Tom Coffey, and is off and running. They have made big strides towards our goal of a more accessible church. They have worked with the congregation and architect Jay Mason to develop initial drawings that incorporate the potential updates that we most value for the church building. They have been adding information to the church fairly regularly, and, of particular interest to me, have posted their best and most current plan so far at: http://www.uuchelmsford.org/nextSteps/AccessabilityPlansJune16.pdf.

That plan:

  • Incorporates the mandated elevator,
  • Has the much desired bathrooms on the second floor,  
  • Adds a ramp between have the two levels of our lower story,   
  • Makes a main entrance accessed by a ramp outside the building,
  • Rearranges the offices on the first floor so that Cindy’s office will be right next to the main entrance.

Please take a look at the plans, I think they’re pretty cool. The architectural task force proposed a timeline that involves congregation approvals in the next few months, contractor bidding to follow in early spring, and construction to start in the summer of 2017. This is an ambitious, fast moving, plan, and they challenge the rest of us to develop the infrastructure, work out congregational approval, and make financial decisions to keep up with them.

The finance arm is still in need of hands and skills, but the Standing Committee is working towards assembling a solid team to handle this. So far the first step is handled; there is a place to bank money for the accessibility campaign. So if you are excited about this process and want to write a check to the church today, we will gladly accept it. You can get money to us in any way that you normally do, just mark it as for the capital campaign. There is not yet the infrastructure in place to track anyone’s progress towards a multi-year pledge, but total amount donated will be added as a line item on your normal pledge statement.

The fundraising arm lost its identified chair due to outside time commitment changes, and we are looking for another chair and team. Because we don’t appear to have the skills or capacity in-house to run a capital campaign of this magnitude, our tentative plan is to hire a professional fundraiser to provide significant help and expertise. If coordinating our fundraising effort, with or without, professional assistance is of interest to you, please let me know,

I’d be happy to discuss possibilities with you. We do have already, thanks to Steve Zocchi’s imagination, a fundraiser in the planning stages. Steve has offered to kick off, or energize, fundraising at the November 5th, First Parish Concert Series that he is putting on, proceeds to go to the accessibility campaign. Other ideas are being floated.

This is clearly a work in progress, but I see us moving in a useful direction. Thanks to all who have been putting work in already. Your effort and support is making this possible.

So that’s what’s in my head today. Please ask me clarify anything about this. Unless someone speaks up and tells me where information is lacking or confusing, I can only guess about what people want to know and how it is best presented.

-- Sarah Manning, Standing Committee Chair

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133