This information was published in the Somers Congregational Church restoration news center on Nov. 20, 2012:
Rev. Dr. Barry Cass
Things are moving ahead on several fronts this week. It is great to be able to report that at a meeting of the members of the church on Sunday, authorization was given to the Church Council to begin making arrangements for a Capital Fund Campaign to raise funds to underwrite the expense of building the new Meeting House. Although we have not yet come to a final settlement with the insurance company, it is clear that necessary code enhancements, twenty-first century technology and keeping the same overall feel of the Meeting House will cost more than the settlement will award us. Within the next few weeks as the settlement is reached and the final cost for building is identified a Capital Campaign Committee will be working to address the need. Everyone will be invited to take part in raising our new Meeting House which will quickly become a landmark and center of community life.
The Building Committee, construction team and architects have virtually completed our latest response to the insurance company as we move toward a settlement. A great deal of work has been done to document the building that existed on December 31, 2011 so that an appropriate replacement cost can be set. As that part of the process is completed our Insurance Committee continues to work with the insurance company to get payment for contents that are being replaced. Although most of their work is carried on behind the scenes, the Insurance Committee has worked tirelessly through the past eleven months to be sure that bills are paid and our needs are met. Reviewing inventories and requests for payment and presenting documentation to the insurance company for each expenditure is arduous and we are fortunate that the Insurance Committee has been able to keep an eagle eye on the entire process.
At 6:30 this morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw the car headlights of workers arriving at the Meeting House site to begin work. Some concrete has been poured; the rebar and forms have been set for more to come. Already we can see what will be the footprint of the new Meeting House. There is a curing time for the cement to insure it is adequate for the building about to rise upon it, but soon steel work and framing will begin, and by early 2013 we will be able to see the outline of the entire structure.
Over the past several months, through the design phase, the Building Committee and architects have worked with the organ builders and acoustician on details of the sanctuary design. The organ will be placed in the balcony, as it was in the former Meeting House. Special attention will be paid to the floor supporting the pipes. It was decided, in order to enhance the sound, the center aisle of the sanctuary would be carpeted, but there will be no carpet under or between the pews. The balcony will not be carpeted. As in the past, the lower level pews will have cushions, but not those in the balcony. A special technique will be used to install multiple layers of sheetrock on the walls so they will help create the fuller sound of the new organ. A flat, coffered sanctuary ceiling will also enhance the sound of the organ, voices when they are singing, and speaking voices too. Because of these acoustical improvements and the design that allows us to remove two of the pillars from beneath the balcony there will not be a “bad seat in the house,” as the saying goes.
Pictures of the building progress are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomersCongUCC. If you have concerns, questions or comments, please talk with one of the members of the Building Committee, send a note to them at the church, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always happy to talk about the progress being made and the design of the new Meeting House.