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 Building and Grounds 

2016-2017 Annual Report
Gary Weinberger, Chair

Mission:  Ensure that our church building and grounds are pleasing and acceptable to God; are safe, functional, and comfortable for members, staff, and visitors; and promote and support the activities held at the church including: Worship, Fellowship, Sunday School, Day School, Small Groups, Mission projects, etc.

Building and Grounds Committee:   Glenn Elms, Steve Das, Allen Haines, Tom Lowery, Bill Parker, Warren Taylor, Steve Tibbetts, and Gary Weinburger (Chairman).

2016 Accomplishments:

  1. Sanctuary Projectors
    •  Both of the projectors facing the front of the Sanctuary were replaced.

  1. Sanctuary Lighting
    • Since we had rented a lift for the work on the projectors, we took advantage of its availability to patch and paint the wall where the projection screens were removed, and to replace 14 burned out light bulbs in the ceiling of the sanctuary.  We rented a tall ladder and replaced the bulbs over the choir loft with LED bulbs, then erected scaffolding on the stage to replace the 8 light bulbs that are directly over the stage with LED bulbs. We also replaced the tubular bulbs in the sconces with incandescent showcase bulbs because LED bulbs were not yet available in that form factor.

  1. Sanctuary Speakers
    • The B&G members plus Brandon Folts and Steve Das’ friend, Maynard, helped erect scaffolding, remove the two speaker enclosures hanging over the sanctuary, dismantle the scaffolding, diagnose and repair the speakers, erect scaffolding, rehung, test, and aim the speakers, dismantle and store the scaffolding all over the course of a week with no life-threatening injuries.

  1. Emergency Lighting
    •  We had an unplanned power outage on Wednesday Apr 27 when a driver tried to teach his car how to climb a utility pole. It didn’t work too well for him but it gave us the opportunity to check out our emergency lighting system. We found several fixtures where the battery needed to be replaced and did so.  Ballasts were replaced in several emergency lighting fixtures.

   5.  Parking Lot Lighting

  •  Joe Seay replaced all of the parking lot lights with LED fixtures and added a new fixture to illuminate the handicapped spaces by the offices. Many thanks to Joe Seay for his skilled service and to his brother-in-law for the loan of his lift. 

  1. Replacement Chairs for Classroom 105
    • B&G received a proposal that we replace the current chairs in Room 105 with black plastic chairs like the ones acquired for the Youth classrooms and the library. This proposal came with an offer from a donor to match donations from the Sunday School class and the Sewing Group (up to $1,000, giving us a budget of $2,000 for new chairs). This offer was conditional on the removal of all of the old green-cushioned chairs from the room. (Note:  This special offering required Session approval. It passed unanimously after the elders were informed that anyone who voted against this proposal would have to discuss their vote with the Mission Sewing ladies.)

Members responded favorably to this proposal and 100 new black plastic chairs were ordered and delivered. The individual gifts were matched by another large matching donation from one of our most generous givers.

  1. Leak in sanctuary
    • The torrential rain on Friday, May 27th allowed enough water to come into the sanctuary to wet and loosen the carpet tiles 10-12 feet from the exterior wall in some places. We acquired five floor fans (thank you, Coke Machine Fund) on Friday and by Sunday, the carpet was essentially dry.  B&G scheduled a work day to analyze the problem and found that the water came in through the weep holes along the left (facing the stage) wall. This appears to be caused by three separate factors.

  • The first (and dominant) factor is that the perimeter foundation drain (or French drain) along that wall filled with silt over time. This prevented the rainwater from being carried away from the building rapidly enough.  These drains are just 8” deep x 12” wide ditches around the foundation. They are filled with bull rock and are designed to rapidly carry water away from the foundation. After we discovered the problem along the Sanctuary wall, we walked around the entire building and discovered that the foundation drains around the entire building were filled with silt. All of these must be cleaned out. This may require removing some of the plants along the walls of the building to provide enough room to work (the bushes were planted too close to the walls anyway. Their roots are contributing to the problem.). We plan to have someone clean out the foundation drains on a regular basis (probably annually).
  • The second factor is that the downspout for the gutter in that area was clogged as was the gutter itself thus causing the gutter to overflow onto the clogged French drain. We hired a crew from Gardenmania Landscaping to clean out all of the gutters around the entire building including the FLC (the demographics of the B&G committee precluded us from trying that ourselves. In other words, we’re all old.) We will schedule this service on a semi-annual basis. This will buy us some time to address the problem of the clogged foundation drains.
  • The third factor is that the edging strip along the outer edge of the drain was replaced by the landscaper who re-did the plantings in the front lawn and sidewalks to the Sanctuary. The old edging strip had rusted away and allowed rainwater to drain through the flower beds instead of the French drain. This masked the problem with the drain. Even after the new edging strip was installed, water was still able to flow away from the building adequately enough until the recent torrential rains when the water was confined to the drain area by the new edging. Because it couldn’t escape quickly enough, it came into the sanctuary through the weep holes.

The real remedy will be to clean out the French drains to get the water to flow away from the building and to clean out the gutter and downspout to keep excess water from getting into the French drain. Sealing the weep holes is not the correct answer because their function is to provide an outlet for any water that condenses on the inside of the brick walls when the warm, moist air of our typical summer days meets the cool back surface of the sheet rock when the air conditioner is running – which is 8 or 9 months of the year. When this is done, we can then reattach the carpet tiles in the sanctuary that were loosened by the water infiltration.

  1. Grant from Presbyterian Disaster Relief
  • We received a $5,000 grant from Presbyterian Disaster Relief to help defray the costs of repairs due to water damage from the exceptional rains.

  1. Batteries for Fire Alarm panel in Office
  •  An alert signal occurred in the Reception area of the church office. An alarm system technician was called out and traced the problem to nearly dead batteries in the Annunciator panel (hidden behind the wall hanging behind the reception desk in the front office – Warren  knew about the panel but didn’t realize it had its own set of batteries). The batteries were available from our alarm company for $75 each plus trip charge or from Academy for $25 each plus Warren’s personal trip charge. We opted for the latter and we now have 2 new batteries in that panel. (Warren’s trip charge plus 75 cents let him buy a Coke from the machine.)

  1. Repairs to Restroom between Room 200 & 202
  •  Allen Haines removed the tiles at the bottom of the wall, declared that the sheet rock behind the tile was yucky but that there was no sign of a leak, replaced the sheet rock with a water-resistant variety, and replaced the tile (we found some extras from the original construction). Upon reassembly, the original gasket leaked. That was replaced and now everything works and nothing smells.

  1. Landscaping
  • Paul Evans (who we found has a real passion for landscaping) has been very active making sure the beds along the front sidewalk and around the cross are healthy and free of weeds. He took soil samples, determined which nutrients were needed and amended the beds. They are looking much better now.  Paul has cleaned out the PDS vegetable garden beds and he and the other kids planted carrots, lettuce, onions, and Froot Loops.  Paul also ordered about 2000 tons of black mulch (well, it seemed like that much) which Glenn and Warren moved and Paul spread one morning

  1. Youth Work Day Project - Paint Benches
  • The Youth painted some concrete benches which had been out of service for several years. They used a water-based paint. They finished about 5 minutes before one of our torrential April rainstorms. Their hard work was last seen approaching the storm drain. Some rework was required. Bill Bowen lined up a Youthful individual who needed a few more service hours to qualify for the summer mission trip and that person managed to finish painting the benches between rainstorms. After the paint dried, the Utes moved the benches to the beds on either side of the circular flower bed in the main sidewalk. Paul Evans saw what they had done, was overcome with joy, and did his happy dance.

  1. Pond & Waterfall
  •  The old pump for the waterfall was replaced. A float valve was installed and connected to the pipe that feeds the hose bib to keep the water level in the pool constant

2017 Goals and Objectives:

  1. Maintain the church’s physical building and contents to keep it fully operational at or below budget.
  2. Monitor all utilities to minimize expenses and make energy saving improvements where applicable.
  3. Review the overall security of the church building and make improvements where applicable and needed.
  4. Acquire and install 5 video cameras to show who is at entry doors.
  5. Finish the rollout of the Card Key system.

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First Presbyterian Church Conroe
2727 N. Loop 336 W. | Conroe, TX 77304 | PH: 936-756-8884