A Letter from the Construction Oversight Group

August 5, 2019
To the Follen Community,
Here it is, early August, and as you have no doubt observed, the construction project is moving a little slower than we had hoped. As we say in project management, there are three factors in a project: time, money and quality, and usually one gets two of the three.  As we on the Construction Oversight Group (COG) are trying very hard to keep the costs in check and maintain a high level of quality, it is the time that has slipped away.  And the rainy weather of the spring did not help at all.
We have received this news today from our builders, ZVI Construction: they now tell us to expect a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) in mid-September at the earliest. We are sorry to say that this means we will not be able to use the new building areas for the beginning of the fall church season. We are disappointed, but will persevere. While we can do some moving-in of furniture and supplies, until we have the Building and Fire Inspectors’ approval, we cannot occupy the spaces. We will have to move the ministers and staff into their offices when the fall season is well underway, and we have notified them of this frustrating reality. Jane Spickett and Jackie Hawkinson, who will be coordinating the move, will have their hands more full than we hoped, as we’ll want to do the move-in quickly!  Move-in parties, anyone?!
We have laid out the fall schedule for ZVI, with 9/8 Ingathering, 9/15 RE and choir start-up, and the 10/5 East Village Fair.  ZVI are fully aware of the pressure we feel and seem to be very focused on this mid-September date; we on COG are cautiously optimistic but must plan with you to keep using our swing spaces for now. Mark Metzger is in final negotiations with Sacred Heart and Waldorf to again provide space for us, on a short term basis, and we expect to be able to extend these agreements. We’ll have a much clearer idea of the move-in status in a few weeks.
A few specific notes:
1. Any groups and events that have reserved spaces in the new building for September will need to make other plans…we are so grateful for all the creative flexibility of this congregation and staff!
 2. We’ve met with the East Village Fair Chairs, and the Fair will happen as planned on Oct. 5. We do anticipate that we’ll be able to use the new and improved Community Center for the flea market (which must be available to us starting after church on Sunday Sept. 29) but we are crossing our fingers. We’ll likely have limited use of the front lawn and grounds, as we’ll have to preserve our new plantings.  Again, by Sept. 1, we’ll be able to make more accurate projections.
On to August!  Alice and Valerie