Greetings all. I have been somewhat silent lately related to the pavilion project. I had been hyping it for so long and I was so excited about it… I was always talking about it. And then we ran into challenges. And I got a little lost for a time. And you may not have heard much from me in general nor about the project. I’d like to use this space to share about some of the challenges we’ve experienced and how things are going now.
Some challenges I’ve experienced as a member of the pavi design team and owner’s representative:
- Alternative building and contracts model – we received counsel (from a trusted advisor) that money could be saved by utilizing what’s known as an agency approach. This is different than the General Contractor approach in the sense that the lead contractor receives a fee or salary rather than making their money on markups and changes. If done well, this provides freedom to alter plans as well as savings. In our case, it seemed ideal because there are materials donors happy to offer discounts directly to the camp without going through the contractor. Well, this approach is somewhat new to some on the design team and we are learning.
- Relationships – human relationships are often one of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects to anyone’s life. This has been true in our working relationships as well.
- Budget – this has perhaps provided the greatest source of stress for me. Related to the two above challenges, it was a challenge to finish construction documents. Resulting from that was an incomplete understanding of budget. Resulting from that was a design that was more than we budgeted. To be clear, the building that has been designed, and is being built, is an awesome building. It’s exactly what the camp needs to maximize ministry and program. It’s the building the board wanted and approved. It’s also more expensive than we wanted it to be (up from the desired $1.4 million to $2 million).
- Timeline – And almost all of this could have much more easily been overcome if we did not have a tight timeline. Because the new pavilion was to replace the old in the same exact location and because skipping a summer of camp was not an option, we had only from mid August till the end of May to complete the project. Doing things fast and well typically costs more than if you can do them slowly and well. And constructing this building poorly was not an option.
So what are we doing?
We decided to move ahead with the preferred design in the face of budget challenges and look to save in two ways:
- Phasing whatever did not have to be completed to use the space for summer 2015
- Seeking volunteerism wherever possible
With phasing, volunteerism and a loan of $400,000 we are hoping to complete the building enough to get a certificate of occupancy by the end of May, 2015. We hope then to finish the building entirely over the following couple years and pay off the loan at the same time.
This is both not what we planned and not uncommon for large building projects (so I’m told). We knew from the very beginning that a project of this scale would be a great challenge for Bethany Birches Camp. We knew that using volunteers and keeping a tight budget would add to the challenge. We even felt at times like it was an impossible project. And that’s why the name Mission Possible: The Pavilion Project was selected. It harkens back to something Jesus says in Matthew 19:26: “with God, all things are possible.” We know this is true and we continue to put our trust in God.
We welcome your gifts of time and money, as God leads. We thank you for your ongoing interest and support of Bethany Birches Camp. Pray with us that all who use the new pavilion will be blessed and experience God’s love.
aka Brandon Bergey