At its June 2016 meeting, the Vestry unanimously affirmed its commitment to spend a total of $5.5 million to renovate the Parish House. The Vestry first made that commitment in the spring of 2015, based on estimates of the costs of various modernization and improvement projects provided to the Building Committee by the architects and contractor. That figure also has been the target of the church’s Capital Campaign to raise funds for the renovation.
In April of this year, the Vestry reviewed competing bids to complete the same projects. The lowest of those bids was approximately $8.2 million dollars, substantially more than the 2015 estimate, and would require the church to borrow, either from the endowment or from commercial sources, approximately $2.7 million.
The Investment Committee, in consultation with its outside financial advisers, examined several possible financing arrangements involving a mortgage, a line of credit, and additional withdrawals from the Church’s endowment. Their analysis of the long- and short-term effects of each option produced estimated costs that ranged from a low of $186,000 to a high of $236,000 per year.
The budget impact of the financing costs under any of the options would require significant reductions in staffing and funding for the church’s music, outreach and other programs and would lead to meaningful, long-term adverse effects on life at St. John’s. The Vestry found that outcome unacceptable and decided to move ahead with the improvements to the Parish House that the church can afford at this time. The Vestry, thus, voted unanimously to affirm its prior decision to authorize the expenditure of a total of $5.5 million for the Parish House renovation and asked the Building Committee to present to the Vestry as soon as possible the highest priority projects that can be completed within that budget.
We and every member of the Vestry are very disappointed that we cannot afford to undertake all of the Parish House improvements we would like at this time. We firmly believe, however, that our decision to move ahead with the $5.5 million budget is in the best interests of our church and is consistent with our commitment to the continued support of the many important ministries of St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square.
The Reverend Dr. Luis León, Rector
Hilary West, Senior Warden
Richard Metzger, Junior Warden