One of the things that has become more evident to the building committee as we have talked about the new building is that we need to make some intentional decisions about how it will be connected to the current building. This decision is, as you can imagine, not a simple one.
For one thing, we need to decide whether we are connecting the buildings with an enclosed passageway of any sort, or whether we are going to create an exterior connection (a sidewalk or courtyard). At the moment we are planning as if we will have an enclosed, heated-and-cooled passageway.
Another question is where do we think the connection between the two buildings should be? Part of the consideration is where we have too much congestion currently, and not wanting to burden those places with more traffic. This is complicated because we expect that the current pinch points will be affected just by the fact that the new building exists, and that some of the functions of the current education wing (for example) will be in the new building instead. We are currently thinking that the connection would be between the hallway by the kitchen going out those doors to the new building.
Here’s another thought: besides simply being an enclosed corridor between buildings, what functions can this space fulfill? Can we have guest reception there? Information? Sign-up tables? Luncheons? How big will it need to be to be able to be used for some of these things? At the moment we are hopeful that it can be big enough to be uncrowded between services, and have places for people to have conversations together. We might even move the coffee ministry to the connector.
How much will this cost? Can we afford this? After all, it was not, technically speaking, part of the earliest conversations about the new building. This is, as you can imagine, a big question and an important one. One of the responsibilities of the building committee is to accomplish the goals of more space while staying within our budget. We are aiming for the total cost of the project to be six million dollars. So can we afford a nice connector between buildings? Time will tell.
We think that we are taking a bit of a risk in getting our own thoughts and hopes set on this connector-space. We realize that we may decide, in the end, that other things are more important, and we may choose to not build this. But we hope to be able to include this in the project.