by Jon Dalrymple
Progress continues on the new building at Upper Columbia Conference's Grove Road site in Spokane, Washington. Despite some challenges early on in the building process, it is still scheduled to be completed by April 14, 2011. The new facility replaces the Conference's administrative offices and Adventist Book Center that burned down in December, 2008.
So far, the building committee has had to wrestle through a difficult insurance settlement, wait for the city to find misplaced documents in the permit process, and pray that workers could blast through solid rock to install adequate piping for fire hydrants.
"We never know what challenges will come up in a project like this," says Bill Skidmore, Upper Columbia Conference Human Resources Director and coordinator of the building project, "but by the grace of God we can overcome each one. No doubt there will be more challenges, but we can't forget how He has led us in the past."
"Things are actually moving along very well," says Marvin Strouse, Project Superintendent. "Even though we have had some delays, we are at the beginning of the schedule and that means we have plenty of time to catch up."
Because the economy has been slow, many subcontractors and material suppliers do not have a busy schedule right now, and that makes them more available to work on the Upper Columbia project and get materials to the project quickly.
The recent slump in the economy also helped keep the building project within the total amount of the insurance settlement. Even if the cost of materials goes up during the building process, it will not affect the total cost of the building since contracts were sealed in March.
"In a more robust economy, subcontractors tend to be busier and can bid higher to secure projects," says Kevin Cole of Architects West who was involved in the design of the building, "When the bids on this project were sealed, we were in a very aggressive bid climate. Two years ago the cost would probably have been close to 15% more than they are today."
Another factor that is keeping the building cost within the total of the insurance funds is the smaller size of the building. Better use of space and a one-story design has allowed architects to provide for all the needs of the office and bookstore while still having a lower square footage.
"There will be plenty of space for all of our needs," says Skidmore. "Just as cars, telephones and other things have become more compact and efficient over the years, buildings have as well. Having everything on one level eliminates the need for stairwells and elevators. And the new design of the assembly room actually seats more people in a smaller area."
"Our goal was to meet the needs of the office," says Cole. "We went through an intensive process of discovering what those needs were. Then by consolidating duplicated spaces and eliminating unused space, we were able to come up with a design that most efficiently met those needs."
"We have much to be thankful for and much to praise God for in this project," says Skidmore, "Even out of an extreme loss, God has brought us something good. The process has been difficult, but now we will have a new, much improved, building to serve God with. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord."
You can watch the progress of the construction by visiting Upper Columbia Conference's web cam at www.uccsda.org/webcam.