Last week in the Pastoral Notes I mentioned three big repairs/upgrades needed on the church property—a church sprinkler system as required by the Franklin Fire Marshall, a landscape redesign, and the restoration of the stained-glass windows.
As you can tell this morning, the restoration of the stained-glass windows has officially begun! Emmanuel Studios of Nashville removed the windows early last week and then sealed the window openings with plywood and covered it with a full-size color rendering of the windows that you see today. If all goes according to plan, the windows will be restored and reinstalled in roughly three months.
The other two significant upgrades on the horizon are a church sprinkler system and a landscape redesign. First, the sprinkler system is a safety requirement from the Fire Marshall to protect the safety of persons in case of a fire. The sprinkler system will run throughout the building except for the chapel proper. The reason for not putting a sprinkler system in the chapel is cost and likely source of fire. The most likely place for a fire to begin is in the basement underneath the chapel. Because of that, we’re going to sprinkler the basement instead, which is much cheaper and will preserve the beauty of the chapel itself.
As you’d suspect, this is an expensive project. Some of our initial estimates were over a $100,000 dollars. Based on negotiations with the Fire Marshall and slight adjustments in the initial plans, we’re now estimating the cost of the whole project will be in the $75,000 range.
It’s possible that number could come down even more. As some of you read in the paper several months back, the owners of the popular restaurant “Biscuit Love” in Nashville recently bought Lillie Bells, the antebellum home to the right of the chapel. We found out that the Fire Marshall is requiring Biscuit Love to put in a sprinkler system, too. We reached out to the owners to find ways we could share costs related to tying into the city water main. If these plans come together and are given final approval by the city, we may be able to save some more money on this project. Please pray to that end!
Finally, we’ve had an active Landscape Team exploring ways we can upgrade the appearance and usability of our landscape. This team has been working with the Franklin Historic Society on landscape designs and materials. I’m pleased to announce that just last week our proposal received final approval from the city of Franklin! There’s still much work to be done to price out the project, but we’re in the clear to begin work on the project as soon as we’re ready. A huge thanks to the Landscape Team for their many hours of work! We couldn’t have made it this far without them.
Like the stained-glass restoration, the upgrade on the landscape is an unbudgeted expense. It will require designated gifts from the congregation to make it happen! In the days to come, we’ll share more with you about this project and how you can contribute. In addition to financial gifts, there will also be ways for us to band together in “sweat equity” in order to beautify the church property, as well as increase outside gathering spaces and fellowship areas. We’ll keep you posted as these matters progress!