The following is the first in a short series of emails from Pastor Eric Vogt and Brock Curry, TPC Council Chair. These emails are intended to inform the congregation on several different, though ultimately related, topics.
We want to update everyone on a few different topics related to the Travis Park Church building. Although many of us have only seen the church building from the outside or on our video screens at home, there continues to be a lot of work happening inside, even during this pandemic.
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a year since the roof of the Youth Building collapsed in late October 2019. We continue to be so grateful that there were no injuries as a result of this event, which resulted in the flooding of a good portion of the non-Youth Building areas of the church and a significant compromise to the integrity of the Youth Building itself. When the roof of the Youth Building collapsed, it snapped a fire suppression sprinkler line which caused the flooding of many parts of the church. Roy Paterson and church staff reacted quickly to work with our insurance company (Church Mutual) and contractor (Belfor Property Restoration) to oversee the many aspects of recovery. We are pleased to say that, thanks to Belfor’s diligence, Church Mutual’s support, and everyone’s (especially staff’s) patience, we recently completed all of the tasks required to recover from the flood in the areas other than the Youth Building.
We also continue to be extremely grateful that the majority of our expenses have been reimbursed by Church Mutual and for the special donations we received immediately following the roof collapse from local individuals and from United Methodist churches around our region These funds paid for the initial water damage restoration; replacement or repair of damaged floors, walls, and ceilings; and replacement of damaged furniture and equipment. In some cases, the repair of some flood damaged areas of the church provided the opportunity to make other enhancements. For example, the bellows or wind supply for the organ was originally located in the Youth Building and received significant water damage. With reimbursement from Church Mutual, we were able to repair the bellows and relocate it to a location that is better suited for the long-term. We also made enhancements to the nursery, the administrative offices, and to the sanctuary that made sense in light of the need to address flood-damaged areas in those areas. with TPC picking up the cost of our insurance deductible and other costs.
Youth Building Re-Build
At the same time as we were recovering from the flooding in the other parts of the church, the Youth Building was also being secured. Months ago, Belfor constructed a temporary roof that secured the building from the elements and installed an amazing amount of lumber to support the structure of the building. We recently began the process of rebuilding this three-story building.
As you may or may not know, before the building collapse, the TPC youth were the only people actively using the Youth Building, meeting Sunday mornings and evenings in the Youth Center on the third floor. For a number of years, the other two floors were primarily used only for storage except for the area reserved for the organ bellows discussed above. Jerry Hardy has done an amazing amount of work to clean out much of the storage inventory – much of which was damaged by flooding. Since social distancing resulting from the pandemic began, Jerry has done much of this work single-handedly.
We recently hired a team of architects, engineers, and construction experts to develop an estimated cost to rebuild the Youth Building. This exercise is not intended to develop specific drawings of exactly how we might re-purpose the building, but rather will provide an idea of what it will cost to rebuild a three-story building according to 2020 construction standards. We expect this cost estimation exercise to be completed by the first week of November. At that point we will have a better understanding of the amount we will submit to Church Mutual as an insurance claim.
Travis Park Church Redevelopment
Since 2017 (but really for much longer), we began a focused effort to determine if/how we might be able to redevelop those parts of our church “campus” for other purposes – to extend the mission of TPC and to generate additional income for the long-term sustainability of the church. While last year’s roof collapse complicated these efforts somewhat, it also presented some potentially positive opportunities.
In March, we received a favorable report from our consultant, CSG Urban Partners, on the feasibility of redeveloping those portions of our church other than the historic sanctuary. Since then, we have been working with the City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood and Housing Services Department to further explore the possibilities.
We don’t have anything definitive to share at this time, but we hope to have a much clearer vision of what redevelopment might look like early in 2021 and we expect to re-engage with the congregation to continue the discussion. The exciting thing is we have received only positive news with respect to our redevelopment aspirations. And though the collapse of the Youth Building roof has added a significant amount of complexity, the long-term future of the Travis Park Church facility appears bright.
Please continue to pray for Travis Park Church. We have been reminded in this season that the church is us, the people who love and serve together in Christ’s name. Join us in asking for God’s wisdom and provision so that we have the long-term resources, in the building and otherwise, to sustain and extend our vital mission to share “God’s unconditional love and justice in action.”