First United Methodist Church Trustees, at their first meeting of the new year, approved a series of projects designed to enhance the worship and education experience at the church.
Many of the projects have been on a wish list for several years and Trustees are now able to move forward. The projects are being funded by the First Methodist Church Foundation.
No more will several Sunday School classes have to struggle to bring audio-video equipment from the first floor library to the third floor when new A/V equipment is installed in five classrooms over the next several months.
The first room to get the new equipment will be Room 350 where the installation of a permanent screen and projector, enhanced sound system, and other improvements should be complete by mid-February. Four other classrooms will have the new equipment shortly thereafter.
There are plans for repainting, new carpet, new ceiling tile, and new chair upholstery for several adult classrooms this year. Trustees were shown a sample of the new chair upholstery. Color schemes used in the renovation of Room 154 several years ago will be duplicated throughout the main church building.
For years persons wishing to use Leonard Memorial Chapel for small weddings and funerals have been frustrated because the small chapel pipe organ is no longer playable. That will all change this fall with the installation of a new Martin Digital Organ.
Sanctuary organist Peggy Graff presented a proposal for the new chapel organ to Trustees in December. She said the new digital organ almost duplicates the sound of the Sanctuary pipe organ at a much lower cost.
Senior Minister Dr. Tim Bruster told Trustees that the staff often has requests to use the chapel for services, but the lack of an organ has disappointed many who wish to use the smaller facility.
Trustees have approved a major project to correct drainage problems in the church garden. Older water and sanitary sewer pipes are leaking and causing damage to the garden area and the church structure itself.
Demolition and construction crews will begin work as weather permits. The goal is to complete the project in a week so that the Garden will remain open for Sunday services.
For several months Trustees and the Building Committee have been working on plans for the future of church facilities. Trustees have approved a study on the feasibility of a multistory parking structure on property where the Foundation building now stands. At their January meeting, Trustees approved an architectural contract to begin work on updating the church master plan.
Security and emergency procedures have been a concern of Trustees for several years, and at the January meeting, they approved funds for continuing security for church property. Trustees were told that an updated security and emergency operations plan should be complete within 60 days.