Building Development at St Francis
For many years there have been plans to do some re-development at St Francis. In recent years we have developed a cafe patio area, main entrance ramp, replaced windows and doors and added new blinds to the cafe, hall and chapel. All along we have known that a bigger redevelopment is needed.
Under our previous architect we drew up some outline plans for redeveloping the kitchen, having storage at the back of church and better access to the toilets and installing some all access toilets. These plans would cause a significant improvement to the cafe and toilets but would solve only part of our storage issues with the building and did not include the heating and insulation issues or the need for additional space for church and group activities. This was always seen as stage one of a bigger project.
The break in activities due to Covid has provided much time for reflection and whle most of the plans are still good and we still aim to have storage at the back of the hall, a new kitchen and cafe storage area and better access to more accessible toilets. But some things probably will change. EG1) Having the sound desk on a gallery accessible by steps is not acceesibly or inclusive for anyone other than someone who is physically fit. EG2) On reflection the cafe staff are unsure that having a extention of the cafe into the den would work well with the lack of visibility from the kitchen
The reasons for additional developments
The issues with our parque floor and roof and ceiling tiles have also caused us to seek to tackle them earlier than planned. The way that we want to tackle these is in the most responsible way possible. The Sheffield Diocese target of zero carbon emissions by 2030 as a result of the climate emergency encourages us to tackle heating and insulation issues in the most eco way possible.
When our architect told us that he was retiring at the end of March we knew that we needed to appoint a new architect who would have their own ideas and would probably not want to stick with the original plans to the letter. But please note- these are not being abandoned but simply adjusted and expanded.
One of the lockdown reflections was that the building was too busy and there was little easily accessible quiet space. Replacing the existing partition with a more substantial sound proof partition would create a quiet space even if the hall was occupied.
Pre -Covid new activities were often limited because of space issues so having an additional space that church groups and ministries could use as well as being able to be hired out would be of great benefit
The existing plans made some storage more accessible but did not create additional storage space and this would still mean that groups an activities would still be working with far from ideal storage solutions.
Interviewing 5 architects has been a great opportunity to talk with each about the limitations and potential of our building. The architect that we have appointed, Tom Crooks, has a strong reputation and is excited to work with us as we seek to resolve some of the urgent issues and then create a "master plan" for building development. The development may well still be in stages but having a larger master plan makes it possible to try to obtain more significant grants. Financially , the good news at the moment is that the existing outline plans have not cost us a penny thanks to the generous policy of PPIY our previous architects company.
So please pray for the PCC and others as we seek to develop a master plan that will help make our building an excellent resource for our worship, mission and ministry for many years to come