Auditorium Renovations Take Place Over Next Year
IMG_1_ssPlans to renovate the Highland auditorium are underway, with a projected completion date of August 2014. Elders and senior leadership have assembled an Auditorium Renovation Team, which includes Highland members with expertise in fields related to the project, with meetings to begin this month, said executive minister Ben Siburt.

The team is tasked with considering traffic flow, variety of usage, comfort, experience, aesthetics and current audio-video technology as it decides how to replace seating, carpet, paint, among other changes.

The process will be as transparent as possible, Siburt said.

“Our hope is that as soon as we can, for example, pick new chairs, there will be pictures of the new chairs on the wall,” he said.

The Called Campaign leadership team waited until the project could be funded without incurring debt before agreeing to move forward, Siburt said. The projected budget for the renovation is about $600,000.

Since the beginning of the Called Campaign, Highland has paid roughly half of the $972,000 remaining from previous capital projects; the debt now stands at $481,329.96. The church could choose to pay the balance by the end of this year or extend payments through the next two years.

“We didn’t feel like we could go into more debt while we’re trying to pay off debt,” Siburt said. “We’ll be paying as we go.”

Although the auditorium at first blush seems internally focused, Highland leaders see it as a way for the physical worship space to project a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors from the surrounding community, said elder Roland Orr.

The projected schedule for the auditorium renovation is as follows, with dates remaining subject to change:

June-November 2013: Planning and pricing
December 2013: Final plan approval
January-March 2014: Permitting and preparation
April-July 2014: Renovation
August 2014: Renovation completion