Apr20>Forum: Options for Sanctuary Project

Forum on options for Holland Sanctuary Project…

Sunday, April 23 at 11:50

The bids are in for the Holland Sanctuary Project — at $617,036 — way over the $280,000 we had raised.

  • The Building Team has been meeting with the architect and low bidder — to see how we can undertake this very necessary project.
  • We want to present to you a number of options — and ask for your input.
  • So we have scheduled a Forum on Sunday, April 23 at 11:50 — for discussion, advice, ideas on how to proceed.
  • See below for details of what we have thought about  — with the caveats regarding price.
  • Please come — and bring your questions, and your friends.

~ Margot Garcia, for the Building Team

Holland Project Information


For the past 18 months we have been working on a plan to remodel Holland Sanctuary…

  • by installing a new HVAC  (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)
    • to replace the 50 plus year old unit that keeps breaking down,
  • to remodel the existing bathrooms and
  • install a ramp to the lower stage.

We raised $280,000 toward this goal.

We have plans, city permits — and a lowest bidder for $617,036

What to do?


  1. Go to the bank and get a mortgage for the difference between what we raised and the new cost due to inflation, supply chain issues, and grander project than originally thought. Problem: Banks don’t like to give mortgage loans to churches because of the higher risk and bad optics of foreclosing on a church.
  2. Get a mortgage from an Mortgage Company;  We haven’t investigated this yet.
  3. Get a loan from the UUA.  We are not a Fair Share Congregation and therefore are not eligible. At this time, the UUA is not lending money for mortgages.
  4. Raise more money. Put on a short additional capital project fund raising campaign and see what we might raise, say specifically for the ramp ( about $50,000)
  5. Loans from Congregants: Ask congregants who are able to if they would lend the church funds that would be repaid over 10 years. This would be a formal loan, drawn up by an attorney, and would pay potentially 5% interest.* To be decided if the repayment would be on an annual basis, or yearly payment of interest with a balloon payment at the end. The repayment cost would be budgeted annually.
  6. A combination of the above; raise some, get a smaller loan from lending institution, borrow from congregants.

We would need a decision by 1 June — if go or no go with financing.

Using prices from subcontractors to the low bidder…

  • we have tried to break the prices into what goes with each piece of the job.
  • Assembling those together gives us a guestimate.
  • We hope to have more accurate prices from the low bidder by Sunday’s meeting.


  1. Keep the basic plans as bid, with some alterations based on costs. For instance the fence around the mechanical yard was bid as aluminum at a  cost of $48,808. If we substituted an iron fence, it would be about $20,000, therefore saving about $28,000. There are other substitutions that could lower the cost by several more thousands of dollars. Guestimate total cost, $584,000 
  1. HVAC replacement alone: costs here would be demolition of mechanical equipment, cement pad for new HVAC equipment, cost of equipment, duct work, electrical redo, fencing, and steel pole to support roof beam. Guestimate cost: $287,000 
  1. HVAC plus Bathroom renovation: Use Number 2 as base cost for HVAC, then adding in costs for major bathroom remodel, removing walls, masonry work, fixtures, tile, flooring, painting, plumbing, etc. Guestimate; 287+247= $534,000 
  1. HVAC Plus ramp: The ramp requires removing eastern exit door and making new exit through mechanical room. The exit would go to a sidewalk and exit door in fence. Guestimate: 287 + 50 = $337,000
  1. HVAC and bathroom fix-up. The “fix-up” would remove custodian closet and divide up that space between existing men and women’s bathrooms, new ceiling, painting new commercial low flow toilets (with rebates), new sinks, changing tables:  Guestimate: 287 + 40= $327,000
  1. HVAC, ramp, and fixed up bathrooms (see above) Guestimate: 287 + 50+ 40=$377,000
Summary… Plan #1 Plan #2 Plan #3 Plan #4 Plan #5 Plan #6
Cost = 584,000 287,000 534,000 337,000 327,000 377,000
Money on hand = 260,000 260,000 260,000 260,000 260,000 260,000
Shortfall = 324,000 27,000 274,000 77,000 67,000 117,000


*A survey of savings accounts interest rates in April 2023 with $25,000 account shows interest rates vary from 4.75% to 0.01 %.  The median appears to be about 4%.