Help UUFNW Raise Our Roof!

Posted on May 6, 2018
Category: Building projects
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$5835 raised
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STRETCH GOAL ADDED: $15,000 The UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester in Mount Kisco, NY, needs your help to replace our roof. Our modern building’s flat roof leaks badly. It is uninsulated, allowing heat to escape freely. It has a layer of asbestos. Our congregation would like to focus on our mission to welcome, inspire, share and love in a building that is dry, environmentally sustainable, and affordable.
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We need your help.

Preserving and Sustaining Modern Architecture

Like so many other UU Congregations, UUFNW wanted a unique building that spoke of our faith as a quest for meaning and connection.  They turned to Victor Christ-Janer, a  famed artist and modernist architect. Built in 1970, our congregation’s home has been featured on architectural tours of the area as a paragon of the modern architecture movement. It was noted in Christ-Janer’s 2008 obituary for it’s groundbreaking use of earthquake-resistant concrete blocks that he designed. There are times that light streams into the building through the high, narrow windows in ways that are transcendent.

Now our building, built 48 years ago on a very low budget, needs to be brought into the 21stcentury so that we can grow and thrive here. We have made the commitment to do this work. Our most pressing need is to replace our roof, which leaks badly, before the structural integrity of the exposed wood deck and girders is compromised. Two layers of roof, dating back to 1970 and 1984,  need to be removed and replaced with an energy-efficient roof that will drain better when it rains. To help us define the scope of what needed to be done, we have engaged a professional roofing consultant. Our current hope is to complete this project during the third week of August, 2018; we cannot do this alone.

Environmental Sustainability

Our project has the added benefit of helping us live our UU values by making our building more environmentally sustainable. At present, our roof is uninsulated. An energy audit of our building found that the roof was the same temperature as the outside air, increasing our carbon footprint for heating through the cold New York winters. The new roof will be substantially insulated, saving on heating fuel and allowing us to move on to other sustainability projects in our building. This is a key component of our eventual Green Sanctuary certification.

Asbestos Abatement

The total cost of this project has proven to be a major stretch for this active but small congregation. Driving up the bottom line substantially was the discovery that the original roof contains a thin layer of asbestos felt—common in roofs installed before 1972. Asbestos abatement will need to be done by licensed professionals and timed for when the building (including the preschool that rents our space) is closed, and asbestos-containing materials will have to be specially disposed of. Air quality monitoring (both indoor and outdoor) during this abatement period has also been included in the project budget.

Financial Security for Our Congregation’s Future

Our total project budget is approximately $160,000. This includes the full replacement of the roof, asbestos testing and abatement, insulation and drainage, and the project manager/consultant. To date, members and friends of the congregation have raised over $30,000 and we have reasonable expectations of being able to secure a $100,000 loan. The congregation will use a portion of our financial reserves to cover the remaining costs—but to pay for the whole thing would deplete our reserves below a level we consider responsible. If we raise more than our goal, additional funds will be used to offset debt service and reduce the amount of the debt we incur in the project.

Our congregation’s mission calls on us to welcome, inspire, share and love. We would like to use our annual budget in a way that lives our values and mission to the community—for justice work in Northern Westchester, for faith formation and religious exploration, and for deep, creative worship for all ages. This project will allow our small congregation to focus on our mission in a building that is sustainable and dry while keeping ourselves in a strong financial position to invest in our future.

Stretch Goals

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One Year Of Debt Service 15,000.00

The debt we are looking to incur on this project will raise our debt service budget by approximately $10,000 a year, a large jump for a small congregation. If we can raise a total of $15,000 in this project, we will have one year of debt service paid for, allowing us some breathing room in our annual budget. This year, we are seeking to fund advertising/marketing, increase funding for religious exploration, and make the inside of our building more welcoming so that we might grow.

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