Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, August 31, 2017

First look at the proposed ministry annex renovation - Rector's Rambling for September 3, 2017

Downstairs in the undercroft are some renderings and blueprints for our renovation to the undercroft and ministry annex (commonly known as the ugly 1970 office addition).
The vestry and building committee have been working with the architecture firm of Hobbs and Black to help not only to cosmetically update the facilities, but to make them more flexible and usable for a variety of ministry uses for the parish and our revitalizing neighborhood.
Pictured above is a rendering of the renovated ministry annex.  Remembering that within a few years, God willing, a new apartment building will be constructed in our side parking lot, members and guests of St. John’s will primarily be parking in our new parking structure behind St. John’s.  Although our new handicapped entrance at the southwest narthex door will be available for use soon, eventually most people will enter the church directly from the garage through the rear of the building.  In essence this becomes our new “front door”.  The challenge is to redo the space to have an attractive central entrance flowing directly through it and toward the chapel and church, AND to make the space more user friendly for small groups, bible studies, 12-step meetings, and social gatherings, as well as space for clergy and staff to offer pastoral care and accomplish the many things that go on in preparation for our Sunday and Holy Day worship.

In the undercroft we are planning an update to the kitchen, the addition of a handicapped accessible family bathroom, upgrade to the nursery and its bathroom facility, and update to the space used for Sunday School and other meetings.  New  carpet, and other cosmetic updates will also be applied in this update.

The big question being asked is “WHEN?”, and our answer is a ambiguous “SOON”.  We are still in the planning stages and then specifications for the work to be done will have to be drawn up by the architects.  We will be hiring a construction manager to help us as we put out for bids to hire a contractor for the work to begin.  December would be the earliest to start the project, which coincides with Olympia completing their project within the parking garage.  We will take possession then of their construction trailer in the back corner of our lot to use as our temporary office space, saving us the cost of installing and removing the trailer (already paid for by Olympia).
The other question is about the timetable.  We want to do this work with as little disruption as possible to the life and ministry of the parish.
We will be doing the rear annex first.  This will allow us to take advantage of the discounted temporary trailer already installed in the lot for the office, and to continue to use the undercroft and nursery on Sundays and on weekdays.  After the annex is completed, a temporary nursery will be set up in the newly renovated space in the annex basement, and the Sunday School moved into that area as well.  As the space is now configured it is not suitable for either of these uses.  Also, the new 1st floor lobby of the annex will be used for a simple coffee hour and other social gatherings, a space not available at this time in the annex in it’s current configuration.  Although we will not have use of a full kitchen during the undercroft renovation, we will be able to move all other functions seamlessly into the newly renovated annex while the undercroft is renovated.  Worship will continue uninterrupted in the church and chapel.
If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free at any time to contact either me or our Senior Warden, Bruce Burton.
We look forward, God willing, to these improvements in the coming months.