207 Washington Street, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481

Construction News – Summer 2019

September 11, 2019

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As we reported to you in the last update (8/21/19), the renovation project in the Nursery School was completed on time. We received our temporary certificate of occupancy from the Town of Wellesley, the movers brought the furniture and materials back in, and the teachers set up their classrooms for the year, all in time for parent orientation on 9/5 and the first day of classes on 9/9.

With the work completed in the Nursery School, the contractors have been focusing on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the Parish House. Since the last update, most of the HVAC work on the 2nd floor has been completed. In addition, sprinkler heads and new lights have also been installed. The new walls reconfiguring the former library and church administrator’s office are up and being prepped for painting next week, and new carpeting is being laid.

On the 3rd floor, the HVAC contractor, Fraser, is installing lines for the new AC system.  Meanwhile, piping for the dry sprinkler system is being installed in the attic.

Until the work is completed on the 2nd and 3rd floors, which is expected to be the end of October, these two floors will remain closed off as they have been this summer. We’ll have to continue to be flexible about how and where we carry out our usual functions. The church administrator’s office will continue to operate out of the former Ushers Room and the clergy will keep office hours in the Board Room on rotating days while making visits and working offsite the rest of the week. The Sunday School will be held in the Wellesley Community Center, and the Assembly Room and Board Room will be used (heavily!) to host the numerous groups and meetings which are held throughout the week.

Once the work has been completed, we plan to have a walk-through of the renovated spaces during Community Hour. The date will be scheduled and announced after we have the occupancy permit.

You should also mark your calendar for a presentation of the Master Plan report which will be made after church on 9/29. Representatives from the Master Plan Steering Committee will review the process and inputs on which the plan was based, its key elements, and how the current renovations relate to it.

Note that the construction updates from the moderators are also appearing on the church’s website: https://www.hillschurch.org/news/ . Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Moderators individually or by email: officeofthemoderator@hillschurch.org.

In service and faith,

Mary Hill Canavan, Gintas Vildzius, Christopher Stowell

Office of the Moderator

August 22, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends of the Hills Church,

The update on the Parish House HVAC and renovation project this week is very short but very sweet!

The work in the Nursery School – ceilings, lights, sprinklers, air-conditioning, heat, casework and painting – is done!  One of the classrooms is shown to the right.  The first floor is being given a final cleaning and we expect to receive the temporary certificate of occupancy from the Town today or tomorrow.  The movers are scheduled to bring the furnishings and supplies that are being stored in the pods back to the classrooms on Saturday and Monday.  The teachers themselves will be coming back on Tuesday the 27th to set up their classrooms for the year.  They will be able to host parent orientation on September 4th and 5th, have their first day of school on Monday the 9th, as scheduled, and, we are pleased to be able to say, in a facility upgraded with air-conditioning and a state-of-the-art fire protection system!

We should take a minute to tip our hats to KVA and Consigli Contracting for bringing this part of the project in on time, and that despite the one week delay in getting the construction permit!

August 7, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends of the Hills Church,

The Parish House HVAC and renovation project has been moving along, as you will see from the descriptions and photos below.  The project is still on track to complete the work in the Nursery School area by 8/23 so that they can begin classes on schedule in September.  Note that work in the second and third floors is scheduled to be completed in the Fall.

On the Nursery School floor, the fire protection main lines, branch piping, and most of fire protection heads (sprinklers) have been installed.

In addition, Fraser, the HVAC subcontractor, has been insulating the hot water pipes on this floor.

July 24, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends of the Hills Church,

It has been two weeks since we last updated you on the Parish House HVAC and renovation project in which time a lot of progress has been made.  A few of the highlights are described below.  Note that these construction updates from the moderators are also appearing on the church’s website in case you should miss one: https://www.hillschurch.org/news/

We will be updating you again in a couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Moderators individually or by email: officeofthemoderator@hillschuch.org.

In service and faith,
Mary Hill Canavan, Gintas Vildzius, Christopher Stowell
Office of the Moderator

July 10, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends of the Hills Church,

It has been just about two weeks since Consigli Construction obtained our building permit and we ‘broke ground’ so to speak on our HVAC Plus project. It has also been two weeks since we updated you on the progress of this renovation. Note that all of these construction updates from the moderators are also appearing on the church’s website in case you should miss one: https://www.hillschurch.org/news/

Since our last update, the staff has been settling into their temporary spaces and the life of the church goes on, in ‘revised normal’ mode. Most people have managed to find the temporary church office (in the Ushers’ Room) and the temporary Reception Room (in the Board Room). In June, we successfully hosted 300 guests for a service of Episcopal Ordination for a Roman Catholic woman priest becoming a bishop.  The service took place in the Sanctuary and the reception was held in the Assembly Room. Just as a reminder, some of the details about how, when and where staff and clergy will be operating during construction can be found in Matt’s messages in the June 6 and June 13 church newsletters which have also been posted on the church website.

You’ve probably seen the accumulation and turnover of construction materials on campus which gives you some idea of the level of activity. But here are some notes and pictures to give you a better idea of what has been going on behind the scenes.

Demolition and asbestos abatement will continue in the current week, and Fraser will also begin installing new hot water pipes. We will be sharing further updates with you in the coming weeks.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Moderators individually or by email: officeofthemoderator@hillschuch.org.

In service and faith,
Mary Hill Canavan, Gintas Vildzius, Christopher Stowell
Office of the Moderator


June 25, 2019

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Dear Members and Friends of the Hills Church,
A few weeks have gone by since we last communicated with you about the progress of the renovation project which is getting underway this summer, and you’ve probably noticed some of the changes already. After a couple of months of sorting, purging, packing, and storing, the Nursery School, the Church School, and the church staff and clergy have vacated the Parish House. A temporary home has been found for everything we wish to keep in various places around the complex, not to mention the storage pods in the parking lot. As of last week, the staff and clergy were settled in their temporary quarters and are fully operational with phones, computers, internet access, and teapots. For some of the details about how, when and where staff and clergy will be operating during construction, please refer to Matt’s messages in the June 6 and June 13 church newsletters (which can be found on the church website https://www.hillschurch.org/news/ ), and the last several Sunday Orders of Worship.

In addition, yesterday the Town of Wellesley issued the building permit we needed to move forward with this summer’s construction work in the Parish House. The demolition work involved is scheduled to begin tomorrow. It is important to note that the size of this summer’s Parish House project triggered a legal requirement obligating us to install sprinklers and other fire safety improvements throughout the church complex. Because of this, the Town of Wellesley conditioned the issuance of our building permit on receipt of a commitment from us about when we would do that. Although Church Council in a June 16 letter to the Fire Department, requested three to five years to get this done – at an estimated cost of $800,000 in current dollars – Town officials would not agree to anything beyond June 2021.

Upon learning this, Church Council met again on June 18. After much deliberation, Council determined that the estimated cost of delaying the current project was so significant that continuing to negotiate with the Town in an effort to try to get them to agree to give us more time – while at the same time attempting to organize a Special Meeting of the Congregation to review this matter with the congregation as a whole – would not be in the church’s best interest.

Acting on behalf of the congregation and bearing in mind that sprinklers and fire safety upgrades throughout the complex were seen by the congregation as a high priority during the Master Planning process, Council moved to accept the June 2021 completion date being offered by the Town. Fortunately, our Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) and contractor believe completing the additional fire safety work required by June 2021 is feasible. That said, Council recognizes that the success of our impending capital campaign will be a key factor when it comes to deciding on the approach we take to doing that. There will be discussion and a vote by the congregation on this point in the fall.

In related news, consistent with the votes taken at the March 3 and May 12 Special Meetings of the Congregation, the Stewards Support Board, led by Chair Jeff McGrew, negotiated and documented a line of credit arrangement with a local bank to provide the short-term financing needed in connection with this summer’s construction work. This transaction was successfully completed last Thursday, June 20.

Looking ahead a bit, the Master Plan Steering Committee approved the final version of the Master Plan last Friday, June 21. This plan includes the Committee’s suggestions about how to group and sequence the various proposed projects. The plan will be presented to Church Council at their next meeting (July 16), and we will be reaching out to the congregation in the coming weeks to communicate when and how it will be shared in the fall.
With respect to the Capital Campaign, work continues on the Fundraising Feasibility and Planning Study we commissioned Walsh & Associates, our campaign consultant, to conduct for us. Earlier this month, Walsh completed thirty-five in-person and telephone interviews of our parishioners, and is currently receiving responses to the online survey which will be open through the end of the day today, Tuesday, June 25. If you have not already completed an in-person or online survey, would you please take a minute to complete the online survey now by clicking on the link below:

https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5052837/WellesleyHillsCongregationalChurch

or, by filling out the paper version, copies of which are available in the relocated Church Office in the former Ushers’ Room. We would like to have the benefit of input from as many members as possible. The Feasibility Report itself will be presented to Campaign Co-Chairs Bob Minetti and Steven Patrick in mid-July and will be instrumental in developing a successful capital campaign.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of the Moderators individually or by email: officeofthemoderator@hillschuch.org.

In service and faith,
Mary Hill Canavan, Gintas Vildzius, Christopher Stowell
Office of the Moderator

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207 Washington Street

Wellesley Hills, MA 02481

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