The board has been charged with looking into the viability of different scenarios in light of the high cost of the architects’ proposed building at Kansas Avenue. These different options include: (1) working out a cheaper way to build on the Kansas Ave. property; (2) holding Sunday services at Temple Beth Israel (TBI); and (3) making changes to our current location.
Additionally, the congregation agreed that, whatever option we choose, the plan will take time and we must make our current space handicap-accessible. We cannot call ourselves “welcoming” if we do not address the needs of people with physical challenges. We agreed to create an accessible bathroom.
In last month’s Chalice, details for a possible new building plan on the Kansas Avenue property were provided. If you missed these articles you can visit www.uuplattsburgh/blog/newsletter.org. Thanks to Jerry Bates for fleshing out these details in response to Option One(1)!
Option (2) Two is a slow-moving process. The use of Temple Beth Israel (TBI) would afford us increased sanctuary space, ample parking and rooms for religious education. We met with the TBI board and are building our relationship through joint social action and religious education programs.
Slow progress is also being made on Option Three(3). There are possibilities to extend the front or back of 4 Palmer Street, if we obtain a variance. We have met with the city inspector to gain a better understanding of what possible options might be, and we have looked at some (very) preliminary, schematic plans that are not detailed enough to present yet to the congregation.
The board commissioned a Building Renovations Tteam to (a) find the best way to address accessibility, and then (b) look further into other building renovations. The team explored the options of either changing the kitchen into a handicap accessible bathroom or putting in a lift in the back of the sanctuary and upgrading the current bathroom to make it accessible. The lift proved to be too costly (and it took up too much sanctuary space).
The team is currently making plans to convert the kitchen into a handicap bathroom. The bathroom will not require the full length of the current kitchen, which will result in a gain of some foyer space for greeting. (This will also free up some of the space in the back of the sanctuary.)
Further, we are making plans to make coffee service available in the back of the sanctuary — – where there is currently a pass-through window and counter. We plan to extend the current counter a few inches, in order to make room for a dishwasher and compact refrigerator underneath. We also plan to have a plumbed- in coffee maker, in order – to simplify making coffee. There will be a single sink in the countertop.
Aesthetics are important! We do not want it to look like we have a “kitchen” in the sanctuary; , but the appliances will be covered by sliding doors that will match the overhead cupboard (primarily for coffee cups). This plan aims to conserve sanctuary space. The counter will be only a couple of inches wider than it is currently, and there should not be a need for the additional table on the side that is used now. The stove and refrigerator will be moved downstairs, and a supply closet will house kitchen supplies.