Frequently Asked Questions
This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list and the conversation is not closed, so don't hesitate to ask further questions!
Needs & Goals
What is our capital campaign goal? Together we look to raise $1.9 million. The project focuses on renovations of the Redeemer’s Kids and Commons area as well as construction of a new multi-use building that replaces our current office building.
Who have we engaged to assist us through the campaign? We’ve been working with Generis, an Atlanta based company that has worked with thousands of churches and non-profits for over 30 years. Generis worked with Church of the Redeemer's purchase of our existing property 13 years ago.
The goal of $1.9 million seems like a lot. Can we achieve it? Given the giving patterns of our congregation, Generis set a range for our campaign based on their 30 years of work in this area and our particular situation. Our goal will be a challenge, but falls within their approved range.
Why do a capital campaign now? Starting the Capital Campaign now enables the church to receive and keep on hand more designated cash in the lead up to the new building, further minimizing debt and related costs.
What if total project costs are well beyond our pledges? The good thing about the schedule right now is we will have pledges completed prior to knowing the cost. In other words, we will be able to go to the lending institution with the appropriate data. If the bank is not able to provide a loan due to regulated limits, then we cannot build.
Will we look to sources outside the church for contributions? Yes. We will explore that option and have taken preliminary steps to do so.
How much space will the new building add? The usable square footage of our current Office building will quadruple from 2,200 to 9,700 square feet. This is the maximum increase of usable square footage Sandy Springs’ ordinances will allow for.
Can we add a 3rd floor to the new building or prepare the building for an additional 3rd floor in the future? This option has been explored with Sandy Springs, our Site Engineer, and our Architect. Due to height and square footage restrictions on our property, a third floor cannot be added now or in the foreseeable future.
Will we actually use the new building for more Mercy & Justice ministry? Yes. Mercy & Justice ministry has been a compelling desire from the very beginning of this process. As we investigated local mercy and justice needs, we found our facilities are preventing us from from fully engaging with our community. Even with our existing partnership with Sandy Springs Mission we have a waiting list of students that we cannot accommodate due to space limitations. Currently we serve and mentor 60-80 Latino Middle School students and 20-40 Elementary students after-school four days a week. In addition, we look to engage and serve our community with things like ESL classes, GED classes, job training programs, college readiness programs, a Latino church plant, etc. The Session of Church of the Redeemer provides accountability as each year they set goals tied to our Vision and Core Values. Throughout the year, they actively hold us accountable for achieving these goals. Over the past few years, service has become an increasing focus for our church and this year was set as one of our priority goals, which we look to expand upon and be challenged by in the years to come.
How many classrooms will we gain? In addition to 4 office spaces, the new building will add 5 new flexible classrooms that can be reconfigured as needed. This is a total addition of 4 classrooms from what we have in our current office building. We are also adding 3 multipurpose open areas.
Will the youth room area be expanded? Yes. As Refuge has grown, the existing space has become less feasible. The youth room in the new building will be 4x larger than the current youth space to account for existing growth as well as continued growth from rising grade levels in coming years.
When would construction begin and how long will it take? Given Sandy Springs’ current application process calendar, construction could break ground in Spring 2019. Though it can change, the initial estimate would be 3-4 months construction time.
Will we lose any parking? No. In addition to the parking we currently have, we will actually gain handicap spaces next to the Commons by restriping the parking lot.
Where are we in the process with the City of Sandy Springs? We have completed the Pre-Application process and Sandy Springs has given approval for the next steps that include meetings and presentations with surrounding neighborhoods, the Planning and Zoning Board, and others. We’d anticipate the entire Use Permit and Special Conditions process to be completed by the end of 2018.
Why not build a new sanctuary on the sloping grounds at the back of the property? The rear of our property is zoned for water, flood, and wetlands and we cannot build on it. Also, the Session believes our maximum ideal size would be 500 people on a Sunday with a church-plant in process.
Redeemer’s Kids & Commons Renovation
The layout of the area looks the same as before. What has changed? While the layout is roughly the same, the inner quadrant becomes a flexible rather than static space, two additional bathrooms have been added to classrooms for additional safety, the check-in area is opened up to alleviate traffic pinch points, and the overall space is refreshed with up-to-date lighting, glass walls, flooring, and bathrooms.
Will kids be distracted due to the glass walls? Glass has been added to some parts of the area to provide more open site lines. A frosting application will be applied to the glass walls so students will not be distracted by parents or others walking by. Many newer schools and office spaces use this design. The frosting stops at an appropriate height that enables adults to see into the classroom, providing further safety.
How loud will the rooms become because of the changes? The glass and accordion walls will provide sound barriers similar to the existing walls.
Will the outdoor play area between the Commons and Redeemer’s Kids area be addressed? Yes. Along with the Commons, we will turn this area into a beautiful and year-round usable space with appropriate shading, flooring, and ground covering.
How long will the renovations take? The anticipated construction time would be four weeks for the Redeemer’s Kids area, and an additional four weeks for the Commons area (8 weeks total). The initial timeline for renovations is to begin in May 2018 and be completed before Summer’s Best 2 Weeks starts in July.
FINANCES, LOANS, & DEBT
Why do we need a loan for the renovations and new building? The loan will be a construction loan that bridges the time gap between payments that need to be made to the General Contractor and pledges from the capital campaign being received.
How much debt do we currently have? The mortgage Church of the Redeemer took out when it acquired the facility has been paid down over the years with the balance now standing at just under $800,000. Church loans, unlike a home mortgage, are commonly restructured on 3, 5, or 7-year terms, even though the actual payments are amortized over 30 years.
Is that too much debt for our size church? No. Non-profits’ typically carry average debt service (total loan payments per year) of approximately 17-20% of total expenses. In 2016 and 2017, Church of the Redeemer's debt service cost just 9% of our overall expenses. Church of the Redeemer's debt-to-income levels are strong in comparison to norms among non-profits and churches by all "good-practice" measures.
Will the new building make us go further into debt? That is not our goal, expectation, or desire. Further, there are restrictions around how much banks can loan a non-profit based on its income and assets. While we are in a good debt position, our income to debt ratios make it impossible for Church of the Redeemer to take on a large amount of additional debt. In other words, a bank is regulated to only lend up to a point. We will be working with our current bank, State Bank, and other lending institutions in the months to come to determine the appropriate and wise levels of debt from the bank’s perspective that would fit within a prayerfully considered approach by our church Session.
At what point will we know the cost of the project? While we have preliminary costs on the entire project (renovations of our Redeemer’s Kids and Commons areas and the proposed new building), they are based on concept drawings and not building plans. For the renovations, building plans will be finalized in the next few months. For the new building, building plans will not be finalized until we have completed Sandy Springs application requirements. We will not be finished with that process until late into the fall of 2018. Thus, building plans will not be ready until early 2019, and more specific costs for the new building will be clarified after that.