The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos has been concerned about the need to renew or renovate our church building for many, many years. A long succession of committees and working groups, starting back in the 1990s, have investigated our facility needs and options. A Long-Range Planning Committee (LRP) was established in the fall of 2002 as an advisory committee to the Board of Trustees. The Board asked the LRP to help form a vision of the future of the church and to develop a 5-to-10 year plan as a move towards this vision.
The LRP produced a Long Range Plan for the UCLA in 2006 and the Congregation in 2007 voted to adopt this Plan. The Long Range Plan tied building renovation or replacement to our Congregation’s Mission (Mission Goal 3: Maintain and Enhance Facilities) and recommended the formation of a Building Our Futures Task Force to work on a definitive assessment of our needs and options.
In September 2008, the Building Our Futures Task Force concluded their extensive work with a recommendation to the UCLA Congregation that we build a new church to replace our current building. A Congregational vote was held on October 5th, 2008, and the decision was to proceed with this recommendation.
The process and procedures for building a new church as laid out in the UUA publication Beyond Fundraising were adapted as a ‘road map’ for proceeding towards our new building. Following this process (as described in Chapter Ten: Planning and Implementing a Building Project) the UCLA Nominating Committee established a slate of candidates for a Building Projects Steering Committee (BPSC).
A second Congregational vote was held on January 11, 2009, to approve the BPSC. The BPSC is currently made up of the following UCLA members: Rick Bolton (chair), Mia McLeod (secretary), and the following BPSC subcommittee chairs: Don Neeper and Carl Newton (Building Plans), Evan Rose (Strategic Planning), Steve Tenbrink (Finance), John McLeod (Property), Sherry Hardage (Publicity), Felicia Orth (Capital Campaign), Gloria Coe and Pam Risley (Furnishings).
Building Plans: Will host Town Hall meetings for congregational input, revisit needs, and eventually work with an architect to develop 3 options
Co-Chairs: Don Neeper/Carl Newton
Forty years ago, Cary and I designed and hand-built our garage, coached by my contractor father-in-law. My deeper interest in buildings began with the 1973 energy “crisis,” when I volunteered to be one of the LANL reviewers who gathered researchers’ ideas for energy projects. After taking a night course in solar thermal engineering, I transferred to the solar buildings research group, where subsequently I served as group leader for several years. In visiting many solar (and non-solar) buildings here and across the country (including our county buildings), I became intensely aware of the dysfunctions that are too often designed into buildings. A dysfunction might be annoying, as a roof that drains onto the soffit, or it might be a disaster, as when a church sanctuary echoes to render speech unintelligible and music distorted. A building is a social investment that should be designed to serve the aesthetic and practical needs of its occupants into the century after it is built. Unfortunately, many buildings unnecessarily become enduring burdens on the society. By bringing aspects of the design to our collective conscious choice, I want to help us find a building that remains practical, durable, and inspiring for the century ahead, despite whatever economic, political, and social changes may occur.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to apply my experience toward the goal of the Building Steering Committee. Thirty-three years ago I was touring homes and talking with local architects, and settled on David Wright to design the house I built and still live in. When I planned to build another home in Virginia, again I had Wright design that house. I have been involved in building, remodeling and maintaining my homes and other structures for nearly 40 years. I have served on our Buildings & Grounds committee for a half-dozen or more years.
In my library are many books on architecture and construction, as well as many volumes of Fine Homebuilding. I have also studied current and classic literature, “picking the brains” of professionals, so that I am aware of best practices and duds — there have been so many lessons learned from mistakes. We occupy a structure, which was never intended for our uses, yet we have managed rather well. There are numerous examples of structures that never met the intended requirements, and were demolished.
While working with the committee and the congregation to develop building plans, I will always be thinking in terms of a post-occupancy assessment: Were the spaces designed to be multi-user friendly, eco-friendly and low maintenance? This is our big opportunity to have a building that is readily adaptable as we grow and change, instead of operating within cumbersome constraints imposed by our building. Whatever your ideas as we move through this process toward our goal, please tell me about them.
Capital Campaign: Will start with working with our UUA Consultant to plan and develop a timeline.
Chair: Felicia Orth
As a life-long Unitarian, all of the milestones in my life have been marked in a Unitarian Church building: my own dedication as an infant; youth and adolescence in RE, meeting and marrying Evan, my sons’ dedications, memorial services for friends, etc. Our Church is our space to be together! Although I’ve participated in lots of Church activities and committee work, including search and leadership, the majority have centered on hospitality or fundraising. Fundraising efforts include more than a dozen canvasses in two different churches for the operating budget. I was also on the steering committee for the capital campaign in Santa Fe 18 years ago that resulted in the beautiful and functional building you see there now. We can do this!
Finance: Will establish an earmarked Building Fund, develop estate planned giving, and study available finance options, LANL Volunteer match, and UUA Grant options.
Chair: Steve Tenbrink
I have been a member of the UU Church of Los Alamos since 1985 and held several positions throughout the years including B&G Chair, RE Chair, and currently I’m serving as Treasurer and head of the technology advisory committee. I recently (Jan, 2008) retired from LANL where I had been a group leader and program manager over the last 10 years and prior to that was a team leader for advanced networking development. As Treasurer since July 2007, I have learned a lot about the church finances, which will make chairing this committee simpler.
Furnishings: Will inventory current furnishings and develop an heirloom transition plan.
Co-Chairs: Gloria Coe/Pam Risley
I have been a member of the UU Church of Los Alamos since I moving here in 1999. I was born and raised in New Jersey right across from mid-town Manhattan. I worked as training director at Bloomingdale’s in New York City where I met James. We married in 1952 and had three sons. I was a stay-at-home mom and was active with the League of Women Voters and other community organizations. (Jim calls me a “Professional Volunteer.”)
Jim and I have been involved with indoor and outdoor clean–ups at the church over recent years. My latest job was with the kitchen clean-up committee. I also worked with Pam Risley in selecting the cabinets and the counter top material for the new kitchen.
I have been a member of the UU Church of Los Alamos since arriving in Los Alamos in August 2003. I have been a UU since 1986 (and long before, though I didn’t know it) and was active in Evansville, IN. I have been Advisor to YRUU for several years and serve on the Caring Committee. I also had the pleasure of helping to choose the elements of the new kitchen design with Gloria Coe. I am hoping to serve as Co-Chair of the Furnishings Committee because I love color, texture and design, and because I want us to enjoy serene but stimulating surroundings in a new building. I hope we will incorporate the most economical and eco-friendly materials and designs.
Property: Will investigate moving utilities and investigate other available property options.
Chair: John McLeod
I hold a Ph.D. in EXPERIMENTAL Physics. The keyword in that implies design and operation of cosmic nuclear play toys, NOT residence in an ivy covered think tank. These things require buildings. Of numerous experiences in 35 years at LANL, the most relevant was designing the building to house the optical system associated with a gigantic krypton fluoride laser. Because the optical path length was about 200 meters, the air had to be kept still to optical precision. This led to a ferocious battle with the HVAC engineers whose standard practice was exactly the reverse of what needed to be done. The civil engineers had never before dealt with a double walled structure. Although I did not supervise the construction directly, I had to come by every day to make sure that they did not make unacceptable changes. Because the building was very long, it was a challenge to fit it in anywhere, so there was no way of avoiding previously buried utilities. I still have a vivid memory of watching a backhoe operator find a buried electrical conduit — without either breaking it or getting out of his seat.
Publicity: Will keep the congregation and community informed through a building newsletter, webpage, and Monitor articles.
Co-Chairs: Sherry Hardage/Warren Houghteling
I have been a member of the church since 2001 when I was hugged and graciously treated by the congregation and Liz McMaster after losing my home in the fire. Over the last seven years I have been the Steward, a greeter, chair of the Social Concerns Committee, served on the board, the council, and the Worship/Forum Committee, periodically given sermons and talks, run numerous charity events including the Dinner and Movie series, run the Wednesday evening dinners (back when those were popular), taught Sunday School, and have cooked something in just about every pot in the Kitchen. I have written articles for the paper for church events and the Empty Bowls Project, been an editor for the Particle Accelerator Conference in Edingurgh and Albuquerque, and have worked as a technical editor at the Labs in addition to my regular duties as an electro-mechanical designer. I am a published author and prize-winning poet (well, one prize anyway). You’d think I could also sing and dance, but alas, that is not the case. However, I would like to work on publicity for the new church design… singing and dancing would just be a distraction.
I have been a member of the church for seven years. I have served as chair of the worship, nominating, and caring committees. I am currently a facilitator in the Covenant Circles program and a Worship Associate. The church community has been an incredibly nurturing place for me and my family, and I want to do everything I can to assist our transition to a new space which will better support our vision and meet our needs.
In my careers as a teacher and software developer/team leader, I have had a strong interest in facilitating clear communication. I look forward to using my strong written and verbal communication skills to support an ongoing dialog between the Building Projects Steering Committee the congregation as we move along the path to building our new church.
Strategic Planning: Will revisit the needs assessment and determine real requirements.
Chair: Evan Rose
I started going to the Unitarian church in third grade, when I lived in Wilmington, DE. I continued to be involved in Shaker Heights, OH, Madison, WI, and Santa Fe, NM (10 years). I have been a member in Los Alamos since 1997. I have enjoyed youth programs (both as a participant and as an advisor), teaching, volunteering, committee work, attending conferences and workshops, and serving one year as president in Santa Fe. My religious roots go deep into the 1950′s and 1960′s humanism, United Nations and civil rights experiences. Currently, I am active with Worship and Forum committees, and I enjoy presenting services. In Santa Fe, I participated in the successful renovation and expansion of the church. My focus is on programs and the activities that our church building makes possible, recognizing that beauty is an important element.