A Proposed Roadmap for the Christ Church HVAC Replacement Project

After two years of planning, thousands of staff and volunteer hours, and a whole summer without air conditioning, we are pleased to present an outline of our proposal to replace—and pay for—the failing and inefficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that serve our historic Church and Parish House. We request your prayerful consideration, comments, and questions as the Vestry approaches critical decisions on behalf of Christ Church for moving forward.

Efficient New System

As previously reported, the Vestry has concurred in the selection of one of the four options developed for a totally new HVAC system. The chosen design, based on the latest improvements to tried and true technology, has the lowest initial cost and the lowest lifetime cost of the four options considered. It also achieves significant reductions in energy usage and carbon emissions.

The design selection was made after months of careful study by a special HVAC Committee, chaired by Barry Stauffer, in consultation with engineers hired by the Church. They chose a design in which water is chilled or heated centrally and piped to our various buildings, where air is then blown across heat exchangers to cool or warm the interior space.  This design has minimal architectural impact.

Funding the Project

Total construction cost for the new HVAC system, net of funds already spent on engineering studies and design, is $2.1 million. After deliberation among the Vestry, Treasurer, Finance Committee, Foundation Trustees, HVAC Committee, Church Trustees, many other parishioners, and clergy and staff, were are able to provide the following outline for funding HVAC construction.

  • Contingency Planning Funds: $528,000. Thanks to hard, disciplined budgeting over the years, the Church has accumulated a contingency fund that will partially cushion the budgetary impact of the new system. We are confident that we can draw down the amount indicated and still leave a reserve of approximately $200,000, which is needed to manage ongoing cash flow requirements over the course of our church fiscal year.
  • Annual Foundation Support: ~$100,000/year. The Christ Church Foundation is one of our parish’s greatest assets. The Foundation’s yearly contributions to the Church—generated from return on managed assets—fund the maintenance and upkeep of our property and physical plant. The Foundation Trustees, Vestry, Treasurer, Rector, and staff are discussing a proposal that would designate approximately half of the Foundation’s annual contribution to pay for HVAC construction over the life of the project.
  • Capital Campaign: $1.4 million. As we have done with Fowler House and other parish projects over our history, we must again turn to the congregation in a capital campaign, this time to support the new HVAC system. We have heard from many of you already about the feasibility of raising the amount needed for the project that we are faced with now. We also are consulting with the former wardens, in addition to the All-Parish Meeting on November 17.

Based on input that we have received so far, we are confident that a new capital campaign will be successful. The Vestry will consider ways to conduct a more formal feasibility study in the very near future. We also are considering the pros and cons of expanding the capital campaign to include other approaching needs, such as a new organ, a new roof for Fowler House, and our contribution to the Shrine Mont capital campaign. But the focus of our November 16 Vestry meeting and November 17 forum will be the goal of $1.4 million for the HVAC project.

Line of Credit

In order to control overall expenses, limit the disruption of construction to one year, and provide cooling to the historic church before summer 2014, we need to finalize the HVAC construction contract before the end of this year. In order to execute the contract, the Church must have guaranteed financing to order equipment (some of which has to be purpose-built for us) and pay the construction firm.

To capture these benefits, Treasurer Tykie Tobin is leading an exploration with area banks for a line of credit. Based on the church’s excellent credit history and standing in the community, it appears that securing a credit line of up to $1.5 million on favorable terms is achievable. Importantly, this is not a long-term loan, but a cash management facility, only drawn as needed and paid back as we raise funds. Mortgaging any of our property to secure the line will most likely be unnecessary.

Your Continued Input and Support Is Needed

The Vestry will be addressing needed action on this plan at a special meeting on Saturday, November 16, as well as at future meetings. We are seeking continued input from the congregation and invite you to contact any of us directly.

Also, please join us for an All-Parish Meeting on Sunday, November 17, at 10:15 am in the Auditorium. We will provide a briefing on the HVAC final design and proposed financial roadmap. We also will ask for your vote on a congregational resolution to concur with any actions that the Vestry may have taken at its November 16 meeting.

John Lawson, Senior Warden