History of Our Future

Sunday, September 17th was a Townhall Information Meeting about the activities of the facilities search team for the last 18 months. Then on  October 1st, there was a Members' Meeting, where two votes were put to the congregation.  A condensed booklet of information is available on the Activity Table and online at TOWNHALL MEETING.

The congregation passed a motion to expand the charge to the Facilities Research team to include exploring making our current building handicap accessible.  A budget of $15,000 was also approved to cover initial costs which might be incurred to get professional plans and a cost estimate.

In keeping with our commitment to total transparency, prior to the Townhall, the Facilities Team held a focus group meeting to help narrow the focus going forward.  Below, is a more detailed history of the activities of the search team as well as several 'brainstorming' ideas for making 230 S. Holmes Street handicap accessible.  This is the information that was shared with the focus group.  The focus group included Lora Bruder, John Kusak, Stacey Ames, Phyllis Jolly, Rick Jolly, Ireaby Jolly, Sue Winklestern, Jeff English, Nancy Jaehn, Deborah Pennington, as well as the facilities team of Nan Podany, Lucille Olson, Kay Batterson, Dan Maynard, Nancy Cody, Deborah Otis,Val Jedrzejaski   (absent: Dave Otis)

To Download a PDF version, CLICK HERE   /sites/unitylansing.org/files/History%20of%20Our%20Future%202017.pdf


Contents. 1

1.     Now is the time and We are the Ones. 2

1.1        MEETING AGENDA. 2


1.3        Facilities Mission Team Possibility Thinkers Prayer 3

1.4        How Does Our Building Support our Mission & Vision According to Our Core Values. 4

2.     Historical Building Events. 5

2.1        Building History of Unity of Greater Lansing. 5

2.2        Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing. 5

3.     The History of the Process for Finding a New Location to Meet Our Needs. 6

3.1        What Actions Have Been Taken by the Facilities Team?. 6

3.2        Stage 1: 2012 Facilities Search Team Original Assumptions/Factors. 6

3.3        Stage 2:  2016 Facilities Search Team Assumptions With Merged Congregations. 6

3.4        Stage 3:   2017 Most Recent Findings After 18 months of Looking at Buildings. 7

3.5        Stage 4:  Consider Renovating Our Existing Building. 7

4.     FAQ Frequently Asked Questions. 8


5.3        Option 1:  Move to New.. 9

5.3.1         Estimated Cost:   $500,000 -$1,000,000 investment 9

5.3.2         Pros and Cons for Option 1………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..9

5.3.3         Develop budget scenario and possible time frame. 9

5.3.4         Main items considered when looking at a different building. 9

5.3.5         FAQ  Frequently Asked Questions About Purchasing a Different Building. 13

5.4        Option 2   Church-in-a-Box*. 14

5.5        Option 3 – Renovate Current Building. 14

5.5.1         Plan #16. 15

5.5.2         Plan #17. 18

6.     FAQ Frequently Asked Questions About Holmes St. 22

6.3        GENERAL QUESTIONS. 22



6.6        PARKING QUESTIONS. 25

6.6.1         iv. SITE PLAN WITH PARKING PLAN.. 25


1.Now is the time and We are the Ones

Last fall, I was conducting a Celebration of Life Service at USCL.  The sibling of the deceased could not attend the funeral as they were wheelchair bound and too large to be carried up the stairs.  My heart broke.  What kind of spiritual services are we offering if we are inaccessible to anyone who desires to be spiritually fed?

For a number of years, the Unity congregation has been attempting to solve the dilemma of how to serve those who have challenges using stairs – whether they are using a wheel chair, a walker or simply are having problems with their knees, hips, broken leg etc.  This is not a matter of shutting out one or two people.  This impacts those who have an on-going condition as well as those who may have a temporary limitation.

In the 14 months I’ve been the minister at Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing, we have not been able to welcome into our congregation anyone who was experiencing a physical condition which limited their ability to navigate stairs.  As inconvenient as that is, the intention was that this was a temporary situation, soon to be resolved by finding a new, handicap accessible building for our ministry. 

In 2015, the merged congregation, voted to search for a new building for the new ministry known as Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing.  Since that time, the Facilities Team has diligently looked for a suitable new location.  It has not been found.  And so we sit, 18 months into our new ministry, without a viable, near-term solution to this dilemma. 

It is time for us to take steps to insure that we can serve anyone who would like to join us. 

NOW is the time. And we ARE the ones. - Rev. Sharon Ketchum




Option 1:  Continue to look for a new location        20 – 30 minutes presentation and Q&A

Option 2:  “Church in a Box” Rental option              20 – 30 minutes presentation and Q&A

Option 3:  Renovation current Building                    20 – 30 minutes presentation and Q&A

                        Continued Open Discussion                                      up to 60 minutes


At the end of the meeting, consider if you would support these 2 proposed Votes to the Membership?

  1. Agree to suspend 2016 Vote to move to new location as our only option.
  2. Authorize expenditures of $10,000 - $15,000 for architectural plans for the feasibility of making

230 S. Holmes St. handicap accessible.

1.3 Facilities Mission Team Possibility Thinkers Prayer

Offered by Rev. Paulette Pipe

We now choose to place ourselves and all that is before us into the Living Stream of God consciousness, which quells all doubts, dampens all fears, and reduces to rubble all walls of resistance standing in the way of great accomplishment. Through the quickening God-power activated within us, we can do anything we set our minds to.

We are possibility thinkers who, in Truth, know Divine solutions already exist. Brimming with courage born of solid faith, we confidently tap into the wellspring of ideas, resources, and clear open channels awaiting our discovery. United heart and mind with those Divine resolutions, we collectively employ the tools at hand and use them to heal, accelerate, and prosper the work of the Unity Movement — for the good of all. We are possibility thinkers!  And so it is. Amen.”

Mission:  To awaken to our Oneness with God, each other and all creation.

Vision: Seeing a world powerful transformed through the growing movement of a shared spiritual awakening.

1.4 How Does Our Building Need to Support our Mission & Vision According to Our Core Values

Spiritual Awakening: a building that is supportive of our spiritual journey by inspiring us through beauty, comfort, and harmonious space, inside and out.

Freedom: a building that supports the ministry in serving our congregation and our larger community in doing those things we are inspired to do – e.g. sharing our building with non-profits like A.A., scouts and other community groups, freedom to have more than one activity happening at the same time without interfering with other activities.

Integrity: a building that allows us to be a powerful force for good in our neighborhood with well-maintained, clean, neat appearance, fitting into the neighborhood, respectful of property around us.  Our building also reflects our caring for the earth with energy-saving appliances, insulation, etc.

Joyfulness: a building that is welcoming to all people by being barrier-free, while providing space for social adventures, music and movement.

Inclusiveness: a building that is barrier-free, properly lit, good sound system, and adaptable for various needs that might arise.

Stewardship: a building that uses our resources wisely.  Knowing that a ministry building is 90% empty much of the time, finding ways for multi-purposing of space, making use of our physical and financial resources with respect, wisdom and ingenuity.  Our stewardship also applies to our planet, so our physical space needs to reflect our EarthCare values.

Prayer:  a building with space dedicated to prayer.

2. Historical Building Events

2.1Building History of Unity of Greater Lansing

  1. 2011-May 2012    Moved from Marshall Street –

 Reasons for the move:

  1. Insufficient parking.
  2. Utilities for church and house were expensive.
  3. Not handicap accessible; too expensive for current budget to make it handicap accessible.
  4. Two realtors informed the congregation that there wouldn’t be any problem finding a new building that was larger with parking and accessibility.  Unable to find a building in the short time it took to sell.
  5. Sold Marshall Street on Land Contract.  Income from Land Contract was to offset rent payment.
  6. Relocated at Plymouth Congregational Church – rent was expensive, sanctuary was dark, limitations on building use, additional cost to use building outside regular hours
  1. 2013-2015    Relocated to US 27
  1. Not enough space, low ceiling, rent was low to begin with, but became too high for us the final year.
  2. Marshall St. land contract owners defaulted on the contract.  UOGL got property back.    Without the income (monthly payments) from the land contract sale, it was not financially feasible to stay at US 27.
  1. 2015   Sold the Clark Road property. 
  1. Research showed it was not a viable option to build on because of restrictions and cost of connecting to water and sewer two miles away.     
  2. Income from sale:  $24,000.
  1. 2015 Fall    Merged Unity of Great Lansing with Unity Spiritual Renaissance 

1.   Vote:  To Change name to Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing.

2    Vote:  To look for a new “fresh start” building to house Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing.

3.   Vote:  To consolidate at 230 S. Holmes while looking for a new location. (USR had been in their building at 230 S. Holmes St for approximately 10 years with no mortgage.)


2.2 Unity Spiritual Center of Lansing


May 2016 Members’ Meeting – Current Operating Guidelines for the Facilities Search Team


Items from Votes 1, 3, and 4 are no longer applicable since 240 Marshall Street has been sold.

Vote 1: Street Property – repair to point of previous status and sell it. (Sold December 2016)

Vote 2:  Holmes Street Property – Stay at Holmes Street temporarily.  When a new location is purchased, sell the Holmes Street Property.

Vote 3:  Would NOT consider selling any property on a Land Contract.

Vote 4:  Would NOT consider selling any property on a lease with an option to buy.


3.The History of the Process for Finding a New Location to Meet Our Needs

3.1What Actions Have Been Taken by the Facilities Team?

(Report on Activities of the Facilities Team – An Overview)

  1. Since 2012 the team has printed information on 70+ properties.  Team members have driven by most of them.  Many buildings did not have handicap access, enough parking spaces, and/or had low ceilings.  Some had high utilities and other high maintenance costs.
  2. Realtors/sellers have taken us through 9 buildings:  2 in 2012, 3 in 2015, 1 in 2016, 3 in 2017 
  3. We viewed anything from 5,500 – 10,000 sq. ft.  
  4. We also looked at an old school that had 35,000 sq. ft.  
  5. In 2017 we expanded our search to include buildings that were 12,000 - 14,000 sq. ft.
  6. We tried to stay under the $450,000 (to include renovations). 
  7. We made an exception when we went through Astera Credit Union and another building listed for approximately $675,000.


3.2 Stage 1:       2012 Facilities Search Team Original Assumptions/Factors

Budget:  $300,000 - $350,000 for a “turnkey” building

  1. Building Fund $54,081
  2. Income from Marshall Street sale estimated would be $250,000 (including interest from land contract for 5 years); land contract of $187,000 balloon payment would be due in 2017. 
  3. We would carry a mortgage of $100,000
  4. We wanted 5,500-10,000 sq. feet, lots of parking and handicap accessible.
  5. We would stay within the Greater Lansing area.
  6. There was a recession and prices were down.

3.3 Stage 2:       2016 Facilities Search Team Assumptions With Merged Congregations

Budget:  $300,000 - $450,000 including renovations

  1. Income from Marshall Street resale after repaired would be $250,000.  

 (Sale netted $180,000 plus building fund savings) = $250,000

  1. Forecasted income from future sale of Holmes Street building would net $100,000.  Some repairs need to be made prior to sale:  Ceiling cracks, back door, kitchen etc.
  2. We would carry a mortgage up to $100,000.   Keeping payments around $1,000 a month is feasible.  
  3. New combined membership would increase our buying power.  
  4. 8,000-10,000 sq. feet, ceiling height, lots of parking and handicap accessible.
  5. We would stay within the Greater Lansing area.

3.4 Stage 3:        2017 Most Recent Findings After 18 months of Looking at Buildings

 Budget $300,000 - $450,000 including renovations. 

  1. Balance in savings from Marshall Street resale and building fund - $250,000.  
  2. Forecasted income from future sale of Holmes Street building would net $100,000.  Some repairs need to be made prior to sale:  Ceiling cracks, back door, kitchen etc.
  3. We could carry a small mortgage.  A payment of up to $1,000 per month is feasible.  Prefer no mortgage at all.
  4. Main considerations: handicap accessible, adequate space (10,000 sq. feet) 100 parking spaces or enough on-street parking to accommodate, ceiling height to accommodate PowerPoint screen, reasonable utilities and maintenance costs, one level or two levels with elevator, stay in Greater Lansing.  Wish List:  green space, inspiring décor, good sound ambiance for sanctuary.
  5. Prices are up. Buildings that were selling for $50 sq. ft. in 2012 are now $65 sq. ft.  The current price of a building with our main considerations starts at $650,000.  Most need some renovation which would be additional cost.  Current assets $250,000 cash plus asset of Holmes Street Building.   
  6. In February 2017 we contracted a Purchaser Agreement with a CBRE for 12 months.  They have shown us 3 buildings and sent numerous listings to the Facilities team.  The Facilities Team has evaluated each property and determined they did not meet our criteria.

3.5 Stage 4:  Consider Renovating Our Existing Building.

Based on the most current information, it appears it would be several years before we could serve members of our congregation who have difficulty with stairs.   


  1. Because availability of onsite parking is limited, it is unlikely that the City of Lansing would approve an expansion of our seating capacity. Our option is to offer two services when we reach that point of growth.
  2. If we file for a building permit, we will be subject to an inspection.  We will likely need to upgrade electrical to 200 amps, install exit signs, and possibly a sprinkler system and/or fire doors.  We may also be required to install a new, larger waste pipe and sewer hook-up.
  3. We would likely need an inspection to see where, if any, there is asbestos.  If asbestos was found, this would need to be reported in any future sale.
  4. Besides any new builds, there is maintenance work needed on current structure – windows, better heating for lower level, sanctuary ceiling cracks, back fire door, kitchen sink/cabinet, door to lower level to diminish sounds between the levels, creating additional storage, etc.

4.    FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why didn’t the congregation receive this information when we voted to sell the Marshall Street Property in May 2016?
  1. The Facilities team didn’t have this information then.
  2. Economics of real estate changed from the time the search began to current time.
  3. We didn’t have a concrete forecast of the merged ministry’s income and expenses.
  4. Based on historical income, Unity of Greater Lansing used to have an income of $17,000 plus the income of Unity Spiritual Renaissance.  With the current reduction of expenses, this would have enabled us to carry a sizeable mortgage if our income had remained the same.


  1. What is our Financial History


2010 Income: $208,500 Expenses: $207,000   Net Annual Income  $1,500            * Annual Building Costs $17,000

2011 Income: $204,000 Expenses: $201,000   Net Annaul Income  $3,000              Annual Building Costs $18,000

2012 Income: $187,000 Expenses: $205,000   Net Annual  Income Loss $19,000   Annual Building Costs $31,000

2016 Income: $168,000 Expenses: $147,000   Net Annual Income  $21,000 less $15,000 Marshall Street 

                                                                            Net Annual Income  $6,000              Annual Building Costs $12,000           

2017 Budget: $172,000 Expenses: $171,500    Net Annual Income  $500                 Annual Building Costs $15,000

 *Building Costs include Utilities, Water, Insurance, General Repairs and Maintenance of the building and HAVC, Snow removal, Mowing, Trash & Recycling.

(Figures for 2010 – 2012 are for UOGL only.)

For 2017, USCL has saved $1000 a month as a ‘practice’ mortgage.   This is the maximum we are able to comfortably put away with our current income.

  1. What do we need in a building to fulfill our mission, vision and core values?
  1. Our basic needs are met in our current facility with the exception of handicap accessibility.
  2. The size of the building doesn’t change our message we wish to share.
  1. How has our membership changed since we moved to Holmes St., with new and old members returning? 
  1. USCL has had a 10% increase in attendance. We do not have a breakdown as to total new members and returning members.
  2. We have increased participation for our events, classes and coffee hour.

   5 Sunday months are highlighted in yellow


2016 ave.

Total 2016


2017 ave.

Total 2017






5 Sundays



5 Sundays


















1st Quarter



















5 Sundays













2nd Quarter











5 Sundays



5 Sundays




5.3  Option 1:  Move to New Space

5.3.1 Estimated Cost:   $500,000 -$1,000,000 investment

5.3.2 Pros and Cons for Option 1

  1. PRO --A new building may fulfill some or all of the needs on our “wish” list.
  2. CON - We will not be able to serve the entire congregation until a new building is purchased. Time frame for achieving this goal is unknown, but appears to be far into the future.
  3. Consider: What are the reasons to move out of our current building?  What are our immediate needs?


5.3.3 Develop budget scenario and possible time frame.   

  1. What is the average listing price for a building with the majority of our criteria?
    1. Currently buildings are listing around $500,00 - $700,000.  Lower priced properties usually require more renovation work.  Real estate prices are going up.   Need to include inflation in our calculations of how much to save.
    2. Whatever building we might purchase, we will need to do some renovations.
  1. What are some possible ways to raise money?
  1. Research has shown that small congregations don’t do well by having a Capital Campaign to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

b.  Grow our membership. As new members get vested and tithe more.

  1. Example:    30 new people giving $100 a month = $36,000 a year. 
  2. It could take approximately 14 years to save $500,000.    
  3. Note: It often takes a year for a new member to be in a position to financially support a ministry.

c.  Ask our current members to tithe more. Do a ‘Facility Pledge’.

Example:  If  3 people increase their monthly pledges by $100, 5 for $75, 10 for $50, 15 for $25 and 25 for $10 you'll have 58 pledges for $1,800/month going towards a specific goal.  This is good for short term projects only, as people are unlikely to increase their tithes for years and years.  


5.3.4 Main items considered when looking at a different building.

  1. Current Funds Available for a New Building
  1.  $250,000   Building Fund                                                                                                                         
  2.  $125,000   Holmes St. value if we sell                                                                                                
  3.  $1,000   Amount we can reasonably handle each month for a future mortgage payment

 or higher utilities/maintenance.                          

  1. Top List of Building Requirements
  1. Handicap accessible.  One level, or multi levels with elevator, chair lift or ramp.
  2. 12' ceilings for powerpoint screen.  If ceiling is lower, can it be raised to 12'?
  3. Sanctuary that seats 125-200 people.
  4. Parking for 75-100 cars. Is parking lot in good condition?
  5. More square feet (8,000 to 12,000) or land to expand building.
  6. Private office for Minister, Administration, 2-3 multipurpose/class rooms.
  7. Central air conditioning. Gas heat.  No electric heating systems. 

3. What could raise our monthly operational expenses?                                                                                        

Increase in utilities and maintenance

  1. Electrical cost
  2. Gas or Propane cost
  3. Water cost
  4. Insurance cost
  5. Snow removal / lawn care costs
  6. General repair cost - Roof, parking lot, paint, etc.
  7. Yearly maintenance fees such as an elevator service plan, HVAC, sprinkler system, fire extinguisher inspection, etc.
  8. More work hours for a maintenance person because of increased square footage for cleaning and maintenance.

Currently USCL building operational cost are $1,264 a month or $15,168 a year.

We save $1,000 a month in a ‘pay it forward’ account that could be used if we purchase a building that has building operational costs around $2,264 a month or $27,168 a year.

To summarize:  If a larger building with operational expenses greater than $2,300 a month was donated to USCL, it would not be fiscally sound to accept the building.   We could sell Holmes and have our building fund as backup, but sooner or later that money would run out.

Example of building currently on the market

517 W. Jolly Road – was Christ United Methodist Church

Owner on tax record:  Board of Trustees West   Michigan United Methodist Church

Purchase price:  $450,000 (Reduced from $625,000)

  UGOL would need to mortgage:  $100,000

Size:  22,000 square feet

Annual Estimated Building Operational Costs (maintenance, utilities, etc.):  $57,000     

(USCL currently spends approximately $15,000 per year on building costs.)

Handicap Accessibility:          

Main floor and lower level accessible from outside only. 

Second floor is only accessible by stairs.

Plenty of Parking, High Ceilings, More than enough room: main sanctuary holds 425 and balcony holds 75 = seating for 500, 5 offices, conference room, 10 classrooms, an auxiliary chapel, fellowship hall, kitchen.

Location: South Lansing

Obvious Repairs and Renovations Needed:

Roof has damage:  unsure of total cost of repair, Parking lot:  Asphalt has lots of cracks

Remove pews and create a false wall to make the sanctuary “fit” our current congregation.

No central air: - There’s currently one window air conditioner in minister’s office.

We would need to air condition sanctuary, offices, classrooms, fellowship hall, etc.

Questions on the 517 Jolly Road property.

  1.  Who is the current owner of the property at 517 Jolly Road? Is it the bank via foreclosure?

       The tax records show the owners are:  Board of Trustees West Michigan United Methodist Church and we are not aware that it is bank held or in foreclosure.

  1.  Would it be possible to arrange a Service there for all to get the full flavor of that facility and what it offers? What would the owners require from us to pull that off?

      Before we would consider arranging a service in this building or any other building, our financials would need to support the purchase of the building without a mortgage ($350,000), support the repairs needed and also support the future years of increase operational building costs before we would consider doing anything like this.  Increased estimated operational costs for this building would average approximately and extra $3,500 a month.  The repairs for roof, parking lot, Central Air and inside handicap lift would be very expensive.

c.     If we were to offer that facility as a viable option, and perhaps request additional membership             financial assistance, then if at all possible, having a service there would greatly increase our odds of that happening. 

i. Requesting additional membership financial assistance will be discussed with the members when we hold our information meeting about our future.  It will be up to the membership to decide if they want to continue looking for a bigger building that would require everyone to raise their donations for a long period of time to cover operational costs. 

ii. It can be difficult to maintain long term pledges of additional funding due to attrition, death,      congregants relocating, etc.






517 W. Jolly Road - Christ United Methodist













 Approx. cost



Gas or Propane cost 

 $     125.00


 $   1,500.00


 $     894.00

22,000 sq. ft.  Listing +15%


Electrical cost

 $     250.00


 $   3,000.00


 $     857.00

 Electric taken from Listing note plus 15% Board of Water and Light  


Water costs



Type of drain system - City, Well, or Septic system

















HVAC Maintenance

 $       42.00


 $      500.00


 $     167.00

Dual Boilers

 $  2,003.00

Fire Extinguisher Inspection





 $       20.00

 More extinguishers

 $     240.00

Boiler Inspection





 $        5.00

State of Michigan

 $       60.00

Cleaning Custodial Contractor

 $     217.00


 $   2,600.00


 $  1,000.00

More Hours


General Repairs/Maintenance

 $       84.00


 $   1,000.00


 $     300.00

More sq. feet

 $  3,600.00

Cleaning & Maintenance Supplies

 $        9.00


 $      100.00


 $       12.00

More sq. feet

 $     144.00

Paper and Disposal Supplies

 $       42.00


 $      500.00


 $       42.00

 Will go up as we have more congregants and classes.

 $     500.00

Trash & Recycling

 $       25.00


 $      300.00


 $       25.00

 $     300.00

Lawn Care and Snow Removal

 $     290.00


 $   3,480.00


 $     761.00

Outdoor Maintenance - based on Astera costs

 $  9,132.00


 $     175.00


 $   2,100.00


 $     700.00

4 x the sq. ft.

 $  8,400.00

Expenses that could go up with new property

 $  1,264.00


 $ 15,138.00


 $  4,783.00




















 $  1,264.00


   increase to


 $  3,519.00

Would need a large monthly increase in contributions to operate this building. 

Needed Repairs, etc. - Estimated 






New Roof








Parking Lot repairs








Central Air








Inside Wheelchair lift

















5.3.5 FAQ  Frequently Asked Questions About Purchasing a Different Building

1. What about a building in a strip mall or business park similar to UOGL’s US 27 location? 

  1. Most do not have 12 foot high ceilings, which we need for our projection screen and raising an entire roof is costly.
  2. We would need to purchase multiple units/buildings to get the square feet we would like, making the purchase price over $600,000 plus renovation costs.

5.4  Option 2   Church-in-a-Box*

*Rent a handicap accessible space for Sunday services. 

Cost Unknown


  1. We would be able to serve our entire community on Sunday because it would be handicap accessible.
  2. If bigger, we would have room to grow with one service as opposed to having two Sunday services.
  3. It would buy us time until we could raise enough funds for a new building.


  1. Classes and Social events held at 230 S. Holmes would still not be handicap accessible.
  2. Meeting at two locations could have a negative impact on overall attendance and participation.
  3. Additional costs and labor for set-up of sound equipment and other items for Sunday service.
  4. Any money we pay in rent will be that much less that we could be savings towards a larger building.


5.5  Option 3 – Renovate Current Building

 Financials     Rough estimated prices range from $140,000 to $250,000

We have created two conceptual plans with different features to provide a visual aid of what may be possible.  We do not need to select a plan at this time.  The Facilities Team is asking the members permission to spend up to $15,000 to hire an Architect to draw up preliminary plans which will enable the Facilities Team to get a more precise estimate of costs.

We considered an outdoor ramp system. Drawbacks were

  1. Winter maintenance would present a challenge (removal of ice and snow)
  2. City of Lansing would likely not permit a ramp too close to the side walk
  3. Ramp on front of building would require rebuilding a front foyer since there are two additional steps inside the front foyer.

5.5.1Plan #16 - 18’ x 18’ Addition UPPER LEVEL  


Plan #16 - 18’ x 18’ Addition  LOWER LEVEL  






  1. Less expensive than plan #17.  We would have money left to look for another building or to purchase adjacent property if it goes up for sale.
  2. No Mortgage.  We have the money in the building fund to pay for it. 
  3. If we wish to sell our current building in a few years, we should be able to sell it for what we have invested in it.  Real Estate prices are going up.
  4. Sparrow Hospital is expanding all the time and may be interested in buying our property in the future.
  5. Sparrow Hospital parking ramp is a short block away.  A joint use agreement will be pursued to allow USCL to park in Sparrow’s Ramp on Sundays and for other church events.
  6. A slanted sidewalk will come up to a larger landing than we have now.  The   landing are will have a roof over it.
  7. Wider stairs going to basement and vestibule/sanctuary. (to accommodate 2-way traffic)
  8.  A 42” wide enclosed vertical wheelchair lift for access to the current basement level, the vestibule level and ground level. Better access to NW back stairs and exit.
  9.  17’ x 8’ entrance lobby.
  10.  Storage closet for tables on main floor.
  11.  New basement will provide more storage that is needed.
  12.  Men’s restroom will remain where it is, saving plumbing cost to move it.
  13.  Washer Dryer will be installed in Men’s restroom.
  14.  Administration Office and Minister’s office will be enclosed for privacy, sound and have doors that lock.
  15.  A 10’ x 14’ room for classes, prayer and money counting.
  16.  A shared area for printing.



  1.  Less vestibule floor space for signup tables, book sales, etc.  than we currently have.
  2.  Vestibule will not have any windows. Current windows will be located in offices.
  3.  Missing from our main criteria list: 2-3 more classrooms. more seating and an 8,000 to 12,000 sf. building, larger parking lot.  Current lot holds 23 cars.
  4.  The lower storage basement is not wheelchair accessible.

5.5.2Plan #17 - 26’ x 24’ Addition – Upper Level    




Plan #17 - 26’ x 24’ Addition – Lower Level    

     PLAN # 17   PROS AND CONS


  1. No Mortgage.  We have the money in the building fund to pay for it. 
  2. Sparrow Hospital is expanding all the time and may be interested in buying our property in the future.
  3. Sparrow Hospital parking ramp is a short block away.  A joint use agreement will be pursued to allow USCL to park in Sparrow’s Ramp on Sundays and for other church events.
  4. A slanted sidewalk will come up to a larger landing than we have now.  The landing will have a roof over it.
  5.  Wider Stairs going to basement and vestibule/sanctuary.
  6. A 42” wide enclosed vertical wheelchair lift for access to the current basement level, the vestibule level and ground level. 
  7. Better access to NW back stairs and exit.
  8. Storage closet for tables on main floor.
  9. New lower level basement will provide more storage and classes.
  10.  New Men’s bathroom will be added in the new addition lower basement.
  11. Washer Dryer will be installed in Men’s restroom.
  12.  Administration Office and Minister’s offices will be enclosed for privacy, sound    and have doors that lock.  Located in the addition will allow them to see who is walking in the door.
  13.  A shared area for printing.
  14.  Additional rooms:  a shared copy machine area, table storage; sink on main floor, utility room with washer/dryer; one large and one smaller room for classes/meetings/etc.
  15.  Coffee station on main floor. After service coffee hour could be held on the main floor.
  16.  Modernizing our entrance may appeal to younger people.


  1. More expensive than Plan #16.
  2. Lower level basement classroom is not wheelchair accessible. Any classes that have a person sign up that uses a wheelchair will be located in an accessible area.
  3. Missing from our main criteria list: more seating and an 8,000 to 12,000 sf. building, larger parking lot.  Current lot holds 23 cars.
  4. We would need to rebuild our reserve funds to be ready to purchase, should we need a larger building and one becomes available.






   With a 24 x 26 addition = 1248 added sq. ft.



 Future Cost  

Estimated increase

















Gas  cost 

 $     125.00


 $ 1,500.00


 $     150.00


 $  1,800.00

Electrical cost

 $     250.00


 $ 3,000.00



Electrical will go up           Water will go up as we grow


Water and Sewer costs





















HVAC Maintenance

 $       42.00


 $    500.00


 $       60.00

Larger or Two HVACS

 $     720.00

Fire Extinguisher Inspection





 $         9.00

 More Extinguishers

 $     108.00

Chair Lift Maintenance and certification





 $       10.00


 $     120.00

Cleaning Custodial Contractor

 $     217.00


 $ 2,600.00


 $     600.00

More hours

 $  7,200.00

General Repairs/Maintenance

 $       84.00


 $ 1,000.00



More sq. ft.

 $  1,800.00

Cleaning & Maintenance Supplies

 $        9.00


 $    100.00


 $       12.00

More sq. ft.

 $     144.00

Paper and Disposal Supplies

 $       42.00


 $    500.00



 Will go up as we have more congregants and classes.


Trash & Recycling

 $       25.00


 $    300.00




Lawn Care and Snow Removal

 $     290.00


 $ 3,480.00


 $     290.00


 $  3,480.00


 $     175.00


 $ 2,100.00


 $     200.00

 More sq. ft.

 $  2,400.00

Expenses that could go up by adding on

 $  1,264.00




 $  1,781.00








 $     517.00

Would need this much more in contributions to support an addition

And we have been saving that through ‘pay it forward’

 $  6,204.00


6. FAQ Frequently Asked Questions About Holmes St.



  1. What about crime in our current neighborhood?

              Sharon met with the neighborhood police officer; he explained that since 2009, the        crime in this area has dropped dramatically.  Even though this area is 75% rentals, serious crimes do not generate from this area.  For example, the homicide on Kalamazoo in June happened through a connection on an e-dating site.  The murder in January at the barbershop was someone who was in hiding of the area and came to Lansing for a family event.  Someone saw him in the area and took advantage of the situation.  We are currently receiving monthly crime stats as we run our prayer project.


ii. Has the Facilities Team considered doing nothing to Holmes Street so we can save all our building fund money for a new location?

          Yes.  However, it would take several years to raise money for a new location. We are not adequately                 serving members of our congregation who have difficulty with stairs.  We don’t consider this an acceptable option.

iii. You may not know this right now, but would an option be given to the membership to forego an addition for now in hopes of maybe a church building for purchase opening up within the next 6 months?  (I would think if another congregations decided to close their doors, then it is more apt to be done at the end of the year.)

  1. All churches do not have their fiscal year end at the end of the calendar year.
  2. Our current financial status of $350,000 (including renovations) to purchase a building and $1,000 per month for increased building operational expenses will not support a larger building. Current listing prices are running $650,000. Most likely our financials will not be majorly different come six months.

iv. How much would a Holmes Street expansion add to the sanctuary?

  1. One of the architects we spoke with talked with the City of Lansing and the City is concerned about parking space for more people if we increase our sanctuary.  Their comments were “if the seating in the sanctuary was not going to increase, then they may overlook the additional parking that would be required with the addition.”

     b. We would go to two services if we overflow our current seating.

v. How many square feet is our current building? 

            The building is approximately 47’ x 57’.  We have approximately 2,679 square feet on main level and 2,679 square feet on the lower level making the total building 5,358 square feet.  If we add on 648 square feet as in Plan #16, we would have 6,006 square feet.  If we add on 1248 square feet as in Plan #17 we would have 6,606 sq. feet.


vi. What is the reasoning for wanting/needing a sink/coffee station upstairs in the one option?  If        everyone can access the downstairs level, why not leave this on the lower level?

           We wish to present a more relaxed atmosphere during services.  Having a place where you can get up at any time during service or event and get a cup of coffee is very popular now.


vii. If an addition is approved, will the search for a new facility be discontinued until a time in the future where it is determined that our needs/wants as a congregation have grown beyond what our current building supplies?

      This is a decision for the membership. 

Currently, the Facilities Team would recommend that after USCL has raised their income to purchase and support a larger building and we have outgrown our current building,  then a new search would begin.


viii. Would it be possible to do another addition in the future for more room?

           Yes, if the City of Lansing approves it.



ix. If an addition is done, then this project will take quite a bit of time.  How will that affect ongoing services/classes at the church during construction, in general and then specifically it seems like with either option, at some point there is the possibility of no men's bathroom for a while?

                The SW corner of the building will be where the majority of the construction will be.  We will use the Holmes St. main entrance and the NW back stairway by Rev. Sharon's office.  The kitchen, fellowship hall and ladies restroom (which will be changed to Unisex bathroom temporarily) should be usable most of the time.  The builders know we have service on Sunday and will do their best to make the building usable for Sunday Service.  As for classes, we can still have them in the north end of fellowship or the sanctuary…it just may be a bit noisy during construction.  Rev. Sharon says:   It's actually quite exciting to be meeting while the renovations are going on!  Except for the drywall dust!


x. Will we need a sound booth in the future?

            Steve Edwards (band sound person) just informed us that we do not need a sound booth, as everything can be run from an IPad. We would need to pay a sound person to sit in the back of the sanctuary and operate the system. 



i.   If we invest in Holmes Street, will we be able to recoup our investment if we sell? 

  1. We paid $99 for our current building originally.
  2. We would recoup any cost we put into the building to make it handicap accessible.
  3. It is difficult to estimate the future selling price if we put on a larger addition.  The building would certainly be worth more by having private offices and several classrooms.  Hopefully we would recoup all our investment we put into the renovations.
  4. With the building of the cancer center, it is likely that Sparrow will offer an incentive to employees to purchase homes locally.  When they’ve done this in the past, property values have increased.  

ii. My question for Holmes Street would be true estimated costs of the proposed renovations.  Has the Facilities Team contacted any Architects and Builders?

  1. We have spoken with 3 architects, one builder and one landscape architect.
  2. A builder will not give us an estimated price without a floorplan from an architect. An Architect will not give us a floorplan without a hefty fee.   However, one builder estimated $150 a square foot for main level and $125 for basement.   (continues…)
  3. Architect fees run approximately 5-7% of the building cost.  
  4. An architectural Phase 1 would include preliminary floor plans, foundation, floor and roof framing, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, lighting, and graphic site plan for preliminary pricing from contractors.  One architect quoted us $8,900 plus consultants (engineers, etc.) fees of about 15%.  We cannot move forward without doing phase one.  We need USCL member’s approval to move forward and have Phase 1 done.

iii. How did the Facilities Team come up with rough estimates for the renovations?

           We used the estimated sq. foot price that the builder and architect told the team. $150 per sq. foot for the main level and $125 for a finished basement.  That price would not include any unforeseen issues like needing a bigger tile connection to main sewer system, etc.    We have a ballpark price of $39,000 for a 36” wide enclosed wheelchair lift from McNally Elevator. The price includes installation.


iv. Are there any grants or incentives that we can apply for to help defray costs?

  1. Yes.  Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart give grants and donate material to non-profits. Some grants range from $5,000 - $25,000. 
  2. Consumers Power and Board of Water and Light have rebate and incentives for various construction items that save energy.



1. The quote for the lift chair, is that installed or just the cost of the chair itself?

      McNally Elevator gave us a ballpark price for a 36” wide, 3 stops with 1 Front and 2 Rear opening using code required power doors, ramp, battery lowering device, folding seat and enclosure walls by others: $39,750.00. Price includes installation.  It must be installed by a licensed elevator journeyperson and then inspected by a State Elevator Inspector before being turned over for your use.   Nan bumped it up the price to $44,000 due to the fact that we wish to have the larger 42” lift for larger wheelchairs.  A verified quote will be needed before we decide to build.

2. How noisy is the lift?  If someone needs to use it during the service will it create a lot distraction?

          With a hydraulic drive, the lift is a reliable and quiet system suitable for use in places of worship, schools and other public buildings. Sharon, Kay and Nan were able to ride in one recently and it was not noisy to the extent of creating a distraction.

3. I totally understand the concept of making our church handicap accessible but the cost, not just financial, for fulfilling this desire is way too much.  As I look around on Sunday at the average age of our congregation I can't help but think we are going to die from attrition. When is our energy going to be directed toward attracting younger people or families, so that we can even afford to support a church, instead of accommodating handicapped people?  I'm sorry to sound negative but I can't help but be realistic. There needs to be a serious discussion about this. 

       The Celebration Sunday team or Social Outreach team would appreciate any ideas you have on how to attract younger people or families.  


i. What about having enough parking at Holmes Street?

  1. We moved the gardens to expand our parking lot.  We now have 23 spaces.
  2. If neighboring properties become available, we could consider purchasing that lot for more parking.
  3. A joint use parking agreement could be made with Sparrow Hospital to allow us to park in their parking ramp or in Ronald McDonald House parking lot.

ii. Before any addition is started, get a parking agreement with Sparrow in writing?

We plan to pursue the parking agreement whether we put the addition on or not.  It would be easier to park one block away in their parking structure, than to park two blocks away on the side street.  It also will make the neighbors happier.

iii. It seems to me that if the team is proposing to use the Sparrow parking lot for Sunday service, I would expect in the winter that our church would be responsible for plowing the walkway to our church, which would include the space near the parking lot, and the street.  Otherwise people wouldn't be able to park in the lot and walk to our church. Are we going to take this on? Who, how often and at what cost? 

  1. Parking at Sparrow Parking lot structure is not any further than parking one block away on any side street from the church, which many people do now.   But it is closer than parking 2 blocks away if there isn’t anything closer.   People do not expect the church to plow the other side streets sidewalks, so why would you expect us to plow the sidewalks between the church and Sparrow Parking lot? Also our neighbors would appreciate us not taking up so much of the parking on the street.

It would be a decision of the Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of the Administration Team, whether or not to contract for services for additional snow removal.