Master Planning Committee Charge
As part of the Parish Council goal setting held in April 2015 the following goal was established:
“Hire an architect-engineer to conduct a master planning and feasibility analysis for the long term (LT) goals including parking, improvements to the hall, kitchen, administrative offices and classrooms by end of second quarter 2015”.
As a result, a Committee was set up to procure an architect to help develop a master plan for the Saint Mark campus – focused primarily on improvements to the fellowship hall and kitchen, administration building, education and classrooms and parking. Since then, the Committee, made up of a diverse group of Saint Mark parishioners, have been working diligently to procure and work with a local architect (API) to develop a master plan for these four areas of our Saint Mark campus.
Issues and Needs
The master planning process first started with assessment of our current facilities and activities, and through several meetings with parishioners and ministry leaders developed a comprehensive list. From this list the same parishioners and ministry leaders were queried regarding the issues and needs with respect to future improvements.
In addition, a simple growth projection analysis was done examining the number of stewards for the past four years and extrapolating the data for an additional ten years. Assuming continued growth, albeit at a slower pace, it appears that we could have as many as 675 stewards by 2025. Also, candle sales and actual observation of attendance helped us to assess the current and future number of parishioners attending church. Because the church is somewhat limited by occupancy in the sanctuary and parking, it expected that as many as 700-750, with obviously more during Pascha.
This information was then used as the basis for developing a concept plan layout of the Saint Mark campus that addressed the majority of the issues and needs and projected growth. The new concept provides more than twice the overall square footage of the current buildings. After closely reviewing the first concept, revisions were requested by the Committee and made by API. This resulted in three additional iterations of the concept plan, all with similar square footages.
All four concepts were reviewed carefully by the Committee and a list of benefits (pros) and constraints (cons) were developed. The benefits and constraints were they weighed against each other for the four concepts and one concept as providing the greatest number of benefits with the least number of constraints (Concept 2).
The architect then moved forward with the schematic design phase that seeks to further define the general scope and design of the approved concept including scale and relationships between building components. At the end of the schematic design phase the architect’s drawings provide an opportunity to verify that the architect has correctly interpreted our desired functional relationships between various activities.
Opinion of Cost
An opinion of capital costs were also estimated from the schematic design based on overall project square footages. Concept 2 had an opinion of cost of a little over $10 million. Average costs per square foot developed for both renovation and new construction for Concept 2 were used to estimate the capital costs for the other three concepts.
Although the new facilities will have cost effective and efficient design, equipment and appliances, since the square footage is over twice the amount as the current facilities, annual operational costs will also increase. An analysis of the current operating costs was conducted and a projected annual increase $75,000-$80,000 was calculated.
To support the capital and additional operational expenditures, a funding plan will need to be developed. This plan should include a strategy for a new capital campaign fund raising effort and soliciting major donations, as well examining options for debt service and what we would consider affordable in the long term. This effort should be initiated and get underway as soon the project is approved by the PC and the Parish Assembly.
As a preliminary analysis, the growth projections of the number of stewards was applied to the stewardship income and candle sales. And based on the current projections, it appears that Saint Mark should more than enough additional income in these two items alone to cover the additional future operational costs.
The Committee compiled and developed the interim report (click on link) outlining all of the work completed as part of the master planning process and presented it to the PC in August 2016.
After the Committee presented and discussed the proposed master plan with the Parish Council, it was agreed that parking was the most immediate concern for Saint Mark and that by focusing on making those improvements now, a quicker return on our investment could be made. Thus several solutions to improve the parking were developed by the architect and reviewed by the Committee and the PC. It was agreed that the plan showing the addition of approximately 63 new spots was the most feasible and achievable in the near term. An opinion of cost was also provided by the architect for the improved parking plan which for design, permitting and construction amounted to approximately $400,000.
On January 22, 2017, a special General Assembly was held to review the proposed parking improvements and recommend approval to move forward with the necessary design, permitting and construction. Mr. Nicholas Laskaris started by recognizing his Father Jim, a founding member of Saint Mark and recounted a story about parishioners that morning that chose to drop their children off and leave because there was not adequate parking. Together with his wife Eva and daughter Marie, the Laskaris family pledged to match up to $200,000 of the cost to improve parking conditions.
After a presentation made by Growth & Planning Chairman Tim Sharp, a vote was taken and the new plan for parking improvements was approved unanimously. A copy of the presentation can be found in the following link - Saint Mark Master Plan Parking Improvements Recommended Next Steps.
Site Plan Approval
After the interim parking plan was approved by the Parish Assembly, the architect will be updating his submittal to the City of Boca Raton for Site Plan and Conditional Use approval to reflect these proposed parking improvements. This is the first step with the City before we can move forward with any design or construction. Once we receive the Site Plan and Conditional Use approval from the City, we will then move forward with the design, construction permitting and construction of the interim parking improvements, and concurrently the development and implementation of a financing and fund raising strategy.
Future Master Plan
The currently proposed master plan, including the future buildings, would be placed on hold for future consideration. This would give the parish council and parish in general additional time to think about the future plan and not necessary feel like they are locked into what we have right now. Chances are there may be a number of modifications to the future plan as we make the parking improvements and continue to look forward to the future.