December 24, 2014 – WE MADE IT!!
We finally moved into our new Spring Street home! The construction was completed the week before Christmas and our COE (certificate of occupancy) permit was issued just in time for our Christmas Eve service 2014. Here’s a summary of how we got here …
In 2007 we purchased outright a 34-acre parcel on Ehlers Blvd. which we fully had intended to build upon. However, when the 2008 recession and the overall national economic decline that resulted made it impossible to move ahead at that time. Though we fully anticipated building on the property, God provided a new direction that was much more affordable.
Palo Verde College, the local community college in Blythe, contacted us in 2012 to inquire about our interest in their 9,000 sq. ft. downtown campus that they were closing due to economic factors and would be making available through public auction. It was virtually the same size as what we’d projected building on Ehlers. Initially, Pastor Mick responded with “thanks … but no thanks.”
After initial hesitancy, lots of prayerful consideration, and some initial feasibility evaluation, the Elders decided to pursue it as a cost saving option for a home virtually the same size we had designed for Ehlers. In 2013 we placed a bid on the property at a closed-bid public auction and were the selected bidders. After escrow closed, we began what turned into a long process of submitting the plans to the city building dept., making revisions and resubmitting, making more revisions and resubmitting, and so on. Also during this approval process, we were saddened by the somewhat sudden passing of Gary Covell, our construction manager who had become a dear friend as well.
After evaluating several new construction companies, we contracted with Berkey Construction to pick up the process and run with the project. During this time we also demo-ed the entire inside of the building, including flooring, ceiling, electrical, plumbing – in effect everything but the four walls and roof. This demo was done almost exclusively with lots and lots of volunteer labor over the hot summer and fall of 2013. Then came the final Building Dept. approval of plans, and permits were issued in the spring of 2014. Berkey immediately began the process of building a new building inside of the building shell that remained.
During the construction time, we were able to sell 20 acres of the 34 acre Ehlers property – with which we were able to cover close to 2/3 of the construction remodel costs. We kept and still have the remaining 14 acres of the Ehlers property. It is presently rented to a local farmer. God is so good!
The construction was completed the week before Christmas and our COE (certificate of occupancy) permit was issued just in time for our Christmas Eve service 2014.
In the end, the final purchase and construction costs for the Spring Street Project ended up totaling about half of what we had projected to pay to build from the ground up on the Ehlers property. With the sale of the 20 acres and our previously set aside building project funds, we were able to pay the entire costs of construction remodel, as well as 20% down on the property purchase. The final result was that we moved into the completed building with only a mortgage on the property and no other debt. The mortgage payment is virtually the same amount that we were paying to lease the nearly 4,500 sq. ft. facilities that we had been renting the first 19 years of our church life in Blythe. God’s timing and providence is amazing.
July 2013 Update
Escrow continues on schedule on the purchase of the Spring Street property. We expect escrow to close on August 5th, at which time we expect to take possession of the property and commence with the remodel project. We’re projecting to move into the new facility by December!
In the meantime, prayerfully consider what God would have you give as a special offering, above your normal giving, to get this project completed.
Whatever He leads you to do, you can for sure expect this: Expect God to stretch your faith as you bring this before Him. Expect Him to ask you to make some sacrifice. Expect Him to bless you with an abundant joy as you invest in His purposes – and don’t be too surprised if He even increases your resources – that often happens to those who embrace God’s vision.
During July, kindly turn in your Intended Giving Form to the offering box, the church office, or an usher.
For more information, feel free to contact one of our Project Team Members – Van Savell (Team Leader), Brandon Johnson, Bob Willcutt, and Rick Crichton.
April 2013 Update
We celebrate God’s goodness in showing us favor regarding the Spring Street College building. On April 16, 2013, the College Board met and voted to accept our purchase offer, and the final purchase documents are under legal review.
We anticipate being able to begin remodeling this fall and possibly even be in the building by Christmas.
Regarding the sale of our 20 acres, Escrow should be closing next week. This will provide a solid base for financing the remodel.
We’re asking Calvary family and friends to prayerfully consider making a special offering toward the purchase and remodeling of the building.
Be in prayer with us for God’s continued hand of blessing, provision, and guidance as we move forward on this exciting project!
August 2012 Update
We had a wonderful time of fellowship together as we celebrated God’s faithfulness to us as a church over these almost 18 years.
Pastor Mick shared some highlights of where we’ve come – including recounting how God had so clearly directed in the starting of our church – and also where we have come in our ministry vision and in the progress of the building project. He also shared an overview of our general financial status, and the next steps we are facing in the building project. We talked about potential financial arrangements and challenges for the project and invited creative congregational input regarding specific financing considerations.
Our Project Manager, Gary Covel from General Construction Management, was introduced and shared some perspectives on the actual building process and various questions. Throughout the meeting, there was an unmistakable sense of gratitude to our Lord for His faithfulness to lead and provide, and excitement and unity together as we look forward to how He leads in our future.
If you missed the meeting, you can listen below.
Part 1: Where We’ve Come (Pastor Mick)
Part 2: Where We’re Going (Gary Covel & Pastor Mick)
Part 3: Concluding Thoughts and Q&A (Pastor Mick)
August 2011 Update
Again, substantial changes have occured since the last update. In March, we contracted with Gary Covel, General Construction Management, to manage the progress. Gary came highly recommended from churches and businesses in the Coachella Valley.
We have obtained all the juristictional approvals to bring city water to the project and have contracted with Garrett Construction to do the off site water delivery. This will require boring under the PVID canal on Riverside Dr. as well as bringing the line north on Ehlers to our project site. Just this week the Blythe City Council approved our “Recapture Agreement” providing for reimbursement of partial construction costs of the line in the event the line would be tied into in the future. This work is projected to begin the first part of September! It should be completed about a week after commencement, and will result in a visible fire hydrant at the site – a symbol of God’s work and promise of more to come.
Additionally, we have contracted with Julian & Julian architects to prepare the formal working drawings which precede permitting and construction. Apx. 8/25, we will be meeting with our Construction Manager to review their initial drawings.
Finally, this summer has seen some opening up in monies available through major church lenders and we have been contacted by a couple to begin considering construction loans.
January 2011 Update
Several significant developments have occured over the last months in our project. The property split has been recorded and we are now legally free to put the two 10 acre parcels up for sale, and have done so. Any interested parties are invited to contact the church office (760-922-9675).
After proposing and evaluating three different methods to bring water to the site (with the city, the county, and PVID), our Civil Engineer has prepared final plans whose final approval from the 3 juristictions appears imminent. It will involve a process called “Horizonal Directional Drilling” (HDD) to bore from the easement obtained from the neighbor to the SE, under the PVID canal and Riverside Dr., then surface on the NE corner of Ehlers & Riverside, then trench north on Ehlers to the project site. We have begun to obtain construction quotes for the water delivery and project to start the water delivery phase in the Spring.
We have also completed and have county approval on all our Civil Engineer working drawings for items such as onsite grading, drainage, offsite street improvements, curb, gutter, etc. As well, we have completed the working drawing phase with our Landscape Architect.
Some major changes have also occured. Due to the recent general economic downturn the construction industry has been greatly affected. Our Design-Build contractor, CharestCorp, has shut down for the present. As a result, we are actively seeking & interviewing for a new General Contractor and Architect to work with for the rest of the project.
Additionally, traditional lenders for new church construction have placed a virtual moritorium on new project lending over the last 2+ years and have not yet begun to offer financing to projects like ours. We are looking into other avenues for financing, but in the meantime will continue ahead with the project as God provides the funds.
Spring / Summer 2010 Update
First, regarding the property sub-dividing – Everything has finally been completed to split the parcel into three and submitted to Riverside County. A final map check by them and a final fee payment check by us and the process will go to formal recording. Completing this process is imminent, after which we will be free to seek to sell the two 10-acre parcels.
Second, we were able to obtain an easement for water line construction from a neighbor in the housing tract SE of the project property, which will allow us to bring water to the site with a shorter water line run than from the pump station on Riverside. The easement was formerly recorded in June.
Third, we have entered into the next phase of the Engineering for water line and site development with Peck Engineering, and for the next phase of Construction Design Development with CharestCorp. Both contracts are foundational to the process which will eventually bring us to building permits.
November 2009 Update
The Riverside County “Directors Hearing” was held Sept. 24, in which formal approval for our preliminary plans was confirmed. This now brings us to the next phase of contracting for the formal working (or construction) drawings which would coordinate all the various engineering and planning areas into the actual plan to build what has been conceptually approved. This phase would end with the anticipated obtaining of building permits to be able to start the actual building.
The preparation and coordination of these drawings is a costly phase and our leadership board is currently evaluating the decision as to the right timing to move ahead. In the meantime, we will be seeking to formalize some agreements related to the extension of the city water line and the engineering of that line extension.
Additionally, the plans for subdividing the 34 acres into the three separate parcels has been completed and submitted to county surveying. We expect the subdivision to be complete within the next 2-3 months.
May 2009 Update
Over the last 6 weeks we’ve seen the following two movements:
(1) The Blythe City Council approved our request to allow extension and tie into the Blythe water. This will of course be at our expense, but in the long run a better alternative than on-site massive water storage, maintenance, etc.
(2) The Riverside LDC gave approval to our preliminary plans, after 3 meetings and various minor revisions to the plans (which we’re told is actually pretty fast to move through this part of the process). So at this point, all the revisions to site plan are pretty much done and aren’t really subject to changes. This approval gave only one real condition we didn’t anticipate – we will need to do sidewalk, curb, and gutter along the WHOLE Ehlers frontage, not just in front of the development area.
We are currently awaiting the county “Director’s Hearing” in which the preliminary plans and county conditions are expected to be approved formally, thus allowing us to move into the preparation of actual construction plans. This meeting is expected toward the latter part of May.
A couple of issues to keep in prayer:
(1) The City water extension option is indeed good, but provides some challenges as well. We’ll soon be addressing these issues with city, county, PVID, and nearby property neighbors.
(2) The country economic difficulties have made funds available for new project loans somewhat scarce.. God knows our needs and the whole timing of the project. We trust in Him to lead and provide in the perfect way and timing.
March 2009 Update
To meet conditions required by Riverside county, we have recently added an additional member to our design team, STB Landscape Architechs in Redlands. They, along with our architech, civil engineer, and surveyor, are completing / revising design drawings to be submitted to the county by 3/12.
Then, our next LDC meeting with the county will be held on 3/26, which, if all appears to be in order, could result in an April scheduling for the “Director’s Hearing”, at which time preliminary design concept plans and conditions could be approved!!
That “approval” would allow us to commence the construction drawing phase – which would eventually (est. apx. 9 months) bring us to the actual issuing of building permits and allow us to begin construction.
On another front, we have reevaluated our previous plan to use our own well and on site storage tank for water needs. Due to the massive requirements for dedicated fire storage (90,000 gal.) and very high expenses that go along with that, we are currently investigating the possibility of bringing in Blythe water, which would require (at our expense) a line extension apx. 650 ft. west on Riverside Dr. and then another 450 ft. north on Ehlers to the site. We’re currently getting preliminary bids to evaluate. The Blythe City Council will be addressing our request at their 3/24 meeting.
January 2009 Update
LDC (Land Development Committee) meetings were held 1/22 with the county of Riverside to review and respond to their initial conditions imposed on both the MPP (building issues) and PM (land split) processes. Requirements such as issues related to transportation, existing electrical lines, fire service, health and sewage, dedicated right of ways, archaeological and palianthological, etc., were addressed. The meeting seemed to go very well and God granted a good and cooperative spirit in the meetings, with even some potentially project hindering conditions laid aside.
For now, our design team needs to make some modifications to some of the design documents, and we will be very shortly contracting the services of a landscape architech for preliminary designs to be submitted at our next LDC meeting, projected for mid-March.
December 2008 Update
We have two submittals related to the project that we have now completed: (1) The Major Plot Plan application [“MPP”] on 11/18/08, and (2) The Parcel Map application [“PM”] on 12/11/08.
The “MPP” shows the county the preliminary plans of what we intend to build and what we intend to initially develop on the site. It, along with the drawings of our architech, civil engineer, geotechnical engineer, etc., have been submitted and will be reviewed by county planning and thus begins a several month process of addressing issues and making modifications and clarifications toward eventual approval.
Our first scheduled meeting with the county in response to the MPP is scheduled for Jan. 22, 2009.
The other submittal, the “PM”, is for the purpose of subdividing the parcel and is now in process of review.
Both applications take some time to work their way through the system with appropriate approvals. We anticipate that the first part of 2009 will largely be spent in this process. So, the big answer to the question everyone’s asking, “When will we build?” is this: If all goes smoothly in the process, we’re looking at possibly breaking ground in Spring 2010.
September 2008 Update
On Sept. 14th we unveiled the projected building design, elevations, master site plan, and final floor plan for the project prepared by CharestCorp Church Design-Builders.
Pastor Mick explained the goals of our ministry and how the building was designed to fit and flow in conjunction with those goals. Our administrative project manager, Molly McMillian, also explained some process and time issues related to the County application and permiting. Pastor Mick then also introduced our special “For Such A Time As This” Capital Campaign to the congregation.
On Sept. 15, the geotech engineering firm was at the site drilling for various samples for soil testings. Their report will be forthcoming.
We’re about 4 weeks away from formal submital of our Major Plot Plan Application (along with the civil engineering, geotech, surveying, and design preliminaries) to the County or Riverside. They then will initially respond to that application within about 6 weeks, after which we ultimately anticipate an APPROVAL and CONDITIONING of the project.
July 2008 Update
All of the required initial on-site & arial surveying work has now been completed & formalized maps to be submitted to the county are in the process of preparation.
Our Elder Board has worked over the last two months with CharestCorp in revising, reworking, and now approving a basic floor plan & general site plan. To see the approved concept drawings, click on: FLOOR PLAN or SITE PLAN. CharestCorp architechs are currently in process of preparing 3D renderings which should ready for initial review process with the Elders the first week in August.
Additionally, Greenlight Consulting is working on our behalf to obtain bids for required on-site civil engineering & geotech services.
Upon completion of all the above, we will be ready to submit the “Major Plot Plan Application” to Riverside County for their review & specific conditioning of our project.
May 2008 Update
In the summer of 2007, we completed the purchase of 34 acres, bordered by Ehlers Road and Riverside Drive (see mapping and presentation links below). We have recently contracted with CharestCorp Church Design-Builders for design and building oversight services.
They met with our leadership board and with many from the congregation at a general “Vision-Casting” meeting on April 10, 2008, and are currently preparing a master site plan, floorplan, and elevation architectual renderings for our project. They should be ready around the end of July. Upon our approval, they will be submitted in the near future to Riverside County for review and conditioning.