News from the Home Team...       Richard Grzywinski, Chair

First [tax-exempt qualifying] Service in our UU Center! 

Tonight, Tuesday, September 30, 2008, we held our first official service in our UU Center. This is one of the requirements to getting our Temporary CO and tax-exempt status.

The program:

People arriving. Rev Newberry gives Chris Holaday a hearty thumbs-up.

Rev Newberry claps hands to gather everyone to their seats so we can begin (like herding cats, that is).

Our Dance of Celebration!

Greetings of gratitude, where everyone greeted everyone else. Hugs all around!

We left by the evening light.

Hey! We need a bigger parking lot already!

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Temporary Certificate of Occupancy!!! 

Today, on Tuesday September 30, 2008, we were issued a temporary Certificate of Occupancy by Galloway Township. This means we will be eligible for tax-exempt status for the 2009 tax year. Hooray!

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And now for the climactic frenzy 

Our rain barrels once held jalapeno puree!

Too bad we didn't yet have the barrels in place before the heavy rain we got the weekend of September 27-28.

We now have our address on our sign!

A rainy wet dismal weekend shows off the beauty of our interior lights – and the interior colors chosen certainly enhance this effect!

The entrance is laid with pavers. Which we ran out of. Anybody know where we can get a few more Oldcastle Colony pavers?

One of the last major things to go in was the bamboo flooring.
But first, the subfloor had to be sanded to make it perfectly level. This task fell to Chris.

We chose the darker color for the sanctuary floor, and the lighter color for the library.

Right now it is almost entirely covered with cardboard to protect it from other construction debris.

The chairs arrived, in shrinkwrap!

For his piece de resistance, TJ and his dad tiled the foyer in a beautiful running bond pattern.

The high ceiling and celestory windows provide a soaring feeling.

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We're getting a kitchen! 

Kitchen cabinets have arrived.

Also the fancy 36-inch commercial range.

More cabinets installed around the range. These are beautiful birch (no formaldehyde laminate).

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Ceilings and doors 

Important finishing electric additions include EXIT lights and emergency lights.

The suspended ceiling seemed to take a long time to get done (due to complicated electrical and HVAC "guts")... holding up our final coat of paint.

Jersey Door provided the lovely wood doors.

Some doors (closet, bathrooms, etc) are solid:

Doors for the RE classrooms have windows:

Double doors for the library:

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Wheelchair accessible 

Chris' crew prepares for the cement walk that will provide wheelchair access to the front door.

The cement is poured and the hand-made bollards are installed.
(What is a bollard?)

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The hot weekend 

Saturday 9/13 was a great day -- it was very hot (90) but we had a large work party.

One of the major jobs undertaken was spreading topsoil so we could get the bare areas seeded. Also, mulch was applied around the planted areas. This was hard, hot labor using wheelbarrows.

Our rear deck is taking shape.

Chris and TJ relax after a very hard day's work.

Aren't these carriage lights charming?

Tiling continues.

TJ's dad lends his expert hand in the upstairs ladies room.

The kitchen has brick red tiles with gray grout.

The wood trim on the portico is stained and assembled.

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On Sunday night Victor and I had to go back to the site to retrieve his truck which we had left there.

It was a beautiful, slightly foggy night with a full moon. Through the oaks Luna appeared in all her mystery. (The little dotted lights at the bottom are the parking lot lights at Stockton across the way.)

What a beautiful place for our new home!
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Elevator parts, and painting (yummy colors) 

The elevator parts are delivered and await installation.

While we wait for the electric to connected, everything (tools, lights) has to be run off this generator:

Painting continues apace!
The yellow chosen for the sanctuary varies by quality of light and time of day:

Sometimes it is a yummy buttery yellow and other times a lemony yellow:

The children's RE rooms are painted in three colors (the name of the green is "Lettuce Alone!")

The nursery will have a mural conceived and executed by member Kim Trotto.

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Get ready for the elevator. And Hanna. 

Volunteer work can be very professionally done, as seen here in the tile work that T.J. Jannsch and his dad are doing in the downstairs bathrooms.

Classrooms now are almost ready to paint.

Did you ever wonder how drywallers get the "mud" (spackle) up onto the higher parts of the walls? Stilts!

Chris took wetvac in hand to clean up the bottom of the elevator pit in preparation for its installation later this week. Call him a muckraker!

Saturday, September 6, Tropical Storm Hanna made a visit and we had to do some quick trenching and berming to direct the heavy rains away from the building and down into the retention basin where they belong.

A very wet Saturday. But now we know what a retention basin is for.

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Taking shape 

A few days later, the sanctuary is sheetrocked and now feels like a real room!
What a serene green view out those doorways.

Looking towards the back of the sanctuary.
The kitchen pass-through is on the right side. Also visible on the right is the door to the stairwell down to the classrooms, where the children will exit to their classes.

The foyer is now sheetrocked. On the left, looking towards the sanctuary; on the right, looking towards the front doors.

View of the front entrance. Note the decorative criss-cross pieces (which will be stained a dark cedar color). Isn't it delightful how they reflect in the glass above the doors?

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Insulation everywhere 

Insulation goes into the sanctuary walls and high ceiling.

And the foyer gets special foil-backed insulation.

Jesse relaxes after a particularly difficult color-picking meeting!
Then it's off to make more decisions.

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Doors for the door frames! 

Doors have been installed!

This is in the rear of the building, leading to the back deck.

The front doors are similar in style, but cranberry red.

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Volunteer work 

Second time around for seeding some of these areas, after having been ravaged by construction equipment. Here we also see the base of one of the parking lot light standards. (also, to the left in the huckleberries, is our trusty portapotty!)

Volunteer work galore, especially in the outdoor areas. Spreading mulch.

That pile of scraps, to be sorted and carted by volunteers.

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Deck construction and electricity galore 

We're starting to see the color scheme come alive here, with the siding of yellow and green, white trim, and red metal roof over the portico. The pile of lumber, siding, and drywall scraps will be sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable portions, as required by LEED guidelines.

The red metal roof accent is carried through to the other end of the building as well.

Work by volunteers begins on the deck construction.

This is not wood, but a recycled plastic material called Trex.

A few days later, the deck is partly done; next will be the railings.

We can see the red wrapped wire of the security system, wired throughout the building...

... including the kitchen, which now has a door!

Who could imagine how much electricity goes into a building like this?

The conduit arrived on big spools.

The red portico provides a nice touch!

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Door frames! 

The door frames arrive and are installed in the front...

and in the sanctuary leading to the deck...

More electrical work on the exterior of the building:

Blowers that are hiding in the attic surrounding the foyer will deliver warmed or cooled air, mixed with some fresh air, into the sanctuary:

As part of the planning for the outdoor area, Jesse and her team mark out what will be the labyrinth area, here marked by scraps of lumber and pieces of tree trunks:

Richard and Chris consult plans daily in their "command central" headquartered in what will be the Library:

So many details to keep track of every day.

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Work on the classroom level 

Framing continues apace in the classroom level. Here are three classrooms (next to the big meeting room, where big piles of drywall await installation), and we can see that the ceiling has been sheetrocked.

The lower level has foam installation (blue), and will have suspended ceilings to enclose the ductwork.

The beginning of electrical panels ...

... which, a few weeks later, had more stuff stuffed into them:

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Here we have the beginnings of our geothermal installation, in which water is pumped from the underground aquifer and reinjected back into the aquifer.

Several weeks later, it grew more complicated with the addition of connections to six heat pumps.

Wahhh. All that grass we planted for erosion control got trampled away by big ole trucks.

Jesse and Heidi consult on colors and furnishings for the classrooms.

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Elevator work, electrical begins, geothermal drilled 

The elevator shaft is boxed in.

and downstairs:

The electrical wiring begins.
It is done with metal-shielded product that minimizes the risk and damage in case of fire.

We have some more new signs out front, for the ductwork and geothermal.

Three wells are drilled for the geothermal.
The water coming out from 100 feet below is an even 55 degrees.
The pile of sand here is what lies below us, making up the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer, one of the Pinelands Region’s most treasured assets.

The Classroom level framing:

and two weeks later, the ceiling is up:

An update from Captain Richard (as of July 24):

§ The electrician started today, so if you visit you will already see a maze of cabling running throughout the building. So far, his costs are within our budget with a little to spare. Next week, he will begin bringing power underground from the pole on Pomona Road to our building. His name is John Perone of Perone Electric, Seaville, NJ.
§ The plumbing is moving rapidly and on Tuesday we passed another Township plumbing inspection. This allows us to begin installing the Meeting Level ceiling that will cover that work. We are now putting in the Sanctuary Level plumbing in the kitchen and restrooms. The insta-hot water heater (propane fired) is being considered for location in several areas. A decision will be made Monday. No fixtures until September. Plumbing by Broadley’s from Marmora, NJ.
§ The Meeting Level ceiling is a complicated issue, and work begins this Friday by Pete Perez. We are screwing and gluing (using low-VOC glue, of course) a layer of sheetrock to the bottom of the joists, then steel “hat channels”, then two more layers of screwed-and-glued sheetrock. This gives us a two-hour fire-rated ceiling. Any penetrations through that ceiling must have fire-dampers which will close from heat, or a metal tube stuffed with fire resistant material. Getting heating, plumbing and electrical from one floor to the next takes great care to avoid a fire permit problem. You won’t even see that ceiling because we are installing suspended ceiling below that. Between the two ceilings will run heating/cooling ductwork and electrical wiring for the Meeting Level.
§ The Sanctuary ceiling ductwork is all installed. Good Job! What a sight! Broadley’s is doing our heating/cooling also. It is interesting to see how they had to snake the duct through the walls to get it from our geothermal system location to the ceiling. If you visit, you will see the duct insulated with reflective material.
§ The elevator manufacturer (Schindler) stopped by and had only a few minor changes to what we’ve done so far. They are necessarily very particular about how things must be done because of safety issues. The delivery is scheduled for September 5, and the install will take 5 to 7 working days.
§ The roof work continues although our vendor “forgot” the last two hundred square feet. The truck is reportedly “on the road”. We have only one day’s work left to finish it. It looks great. Many thanks to Chris Holaday and his hard-working crew who persevered through the heat wave up on that roof.
§ We are installing metal roofing over our portico entrance and over the two rear doors to the deck. After a few snags, they now report that delivery will probably be by Tuesday of next week. It will be installed by Barry Davis, maybe next week also.
§ The geothermal wells are being installed, and as of 2 pm today (7/24) the two extraction wells were completed. It was interesting to put my hand in the clear 55-degree water drawn up from over 100 feet below the ground and know that this water will heat and cool our building. The two injection wells are next.
§ Vineland Glass will be taking final measurements for the two doors to the deck, the door between the Hall and Sanctuary, and the front door so they can begin actual fabrication of the aluminum framing.
§ Next week the plumbing, heating and electrical will continue, and Chris Holaday’s crew will be working on final framing in the sanctuary, final work on the elevator shaft, building the meeting rooms, installing the columns under the front portico and the small deck by the kitchen, and installing the soffits under the roof cornices. If weather and schedules permit, they will begin installing the final (late-arriving) roofing and the cement-board siding.

Still striving for October 1 - Ten Weeks.
Is it OK for UUs to pray for miracles?

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Sanctuary ceiling before the ductwork began:

Ductwork delivered and piled waiting for installation:

First the duct outflows are installed:

Then the ductwork with insulating wrappers are put into the ceiling:

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Green roofing 

The roof is undergoing a transformation from lumber, to tarpaper, to eco-friendly slate-look tiles!

Chris Holaday and his able team apply the fancy-schmancy eco-friendly roof tiles.

Designed to mimic slate, they are actually made of recycled plastic.

An update from Captain Richard (as of July 15):

§ The roof was delivered yesterday and about 10% has been installed. It looks great! If you want to see, it’s on the far side of the building.
§ The siding and clapboard is on site. After the roof, that and the cement board soffits (under the eaves) will be installed.
§ Most of the white outside building trim has been installed. When you look at the building you’ll see the bright white outline
§ The heating and air conditioning system is being installed. The ductwork is stored in the sanctuary ready to be assembled and lifted into the ceiling. Our contractors “ductwork guy” seems great and I think we’ll get a good job. I’m waiting to hear on a delivery date for the six heat pumps and two energy recovery units.
§ We received the permit for the geothermal wells Monday and I’m waiting to hear when they’ll be installed.
§ We received the last (hooray!) Galloway Building permit, for the security system.
§ We selected the electrical contractor. He’s worked with Chris before and his pricing was excellent. He’ll be starting next week.
§ The plumbing piping (water, sewage, LP gas) is rapidly nearing completion and is almost ready for township inspection. When we finish the walls and floors, the fixtures (toilets, sinks) will be set in place.
§ We met the LP gas contractor today to determine where the 27” diameter, 4-foot high tank will go. We’re putting it in the corner near the stairwell (Stair No. 2) on the far side of the building
§ The elevator shaft is constructed and is ready for the elevator.
§ All the windows are installed. They are high quality and environ-mentally the best.
§ The doors are on order.
§ We’ll probably start the basement exterior wall insulation in the next 10 days.

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Summer Solstice service - June 22, 2008 

Another lovely service not IN, but just OUTSIDE, our new UU Center!

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Building update from Captain Richard 

The construction of the new UU Center has been proceeding very strongly. As of June 18, the entire shell of the building has been constructed, framing of the rooms at the sanctuary level is complete, and framing of the classroom level rooms is underway. Under-floor plumbing in the basement has been installed including the all-important sewage ejection system that will convey waste to our septic system. A water line has been installed to the building that is currently being used for irrigation.

Framing has begun downstairs.

We have railings!

The roof has been coated with its first level of weather protection and will very soon be followed by our “slate-look” roofing made of 100% recycled material. The exterior of the building is about to undergo the same treatment with a similar first level of weather protection followed by a durable cement-based finish of “heathered moss” siding and “woodland cream” panels. All windows and doors have been contracted and are in fabrication, and delivery is imminent. The burglar and fire alarm system has been contracted and the design approved by Galloway Township.

The contract has been signed for our geothermal heating and cooling system, and the four required wells are being installed this month. Bids for electrical work are being considered at this time. The site work is stabilized and our water retention and infiltration pond is blooming with new grass planted and nurtured by our volunteers.

Barring any difficulties with contractor performance, permits or government inspections, completion may be as early as October 15.

Some interesting statistics:

No. of design drawings…………52
No. of contracts issued to date (excluding architects and engineers)………30
No. of contracts remaining………about 19
No. of doors purchased………32, five of which are double doors
No. of windows………38, five of which were donated
Square feet of roofing………5,300
Square foot of the building………7,100 (3,600 per floor)
No. of light fixtures………138
No. of elevators………1
No. of steps from floor to floor in each of two stair towers………21
Pounds or gallons of fossil fuels to heat or cool the building………0

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The sad saga of the sod 

Our Watering Wizards are a team of dedicated volunteers that spend 90 to 120 minutes each day watering the areas where we are required to grow grass, in order to stabilize the soil around the retention basin, so as to prevent erosion.

There was some erosion occurring due to recent heavy rains, and several gullies were forming. We were advised to put sod down to stabilize the slope, since it would be a while before the seeded grass would be able to do the job effectively. A dedicated crew put this sod down during the week of May 26, in two beleaguered areas --

the main swale south of the building:

and the area receiving runoff from the road and driveway:

Alas and alack! After a work party spent hours on the morning of Saturday May 31 seeding and spreading straw over some new areas to the south and east of the building, a heavy rain played a nasty joke on us that afternoon.

Runoff from not just the land but also funneled off the entire roof of the building (no gutters yet!) created a river around the building:

which displaced the sod, sending it slip-sliding-away, into the retention basin!

the other sodded area fared a little better:

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Roof tarpapered... and a first peek at that famous window! 

View from the north: do you notice it?....

There's our portico roof over the main entrance!

Looking straight through to the east end of the Sanctuary...

A few days later, we can see what "Betsy's window" will look like!

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New signage 

We have some new signs at our site:

Thanks Chris!

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More framing 

Picture a spiritual home taking shape...

P.S. Compare the grass in the picture above, taken May 10, with the one in the previous posting
(just below), taken May 3.

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Roof trusses up 

The building is really taking shape and can be seen from the road.

The additional trusses for the foyer part of the building can be seen propped against the left front of the building waiting to be installed.

Rather cathedralesque view here, eh?

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Growing grass 

April 11. Pineland regulations required we grow grass around our retention basin. We sowed the seeds, a mixture of perennial ryegrass, creeping red fescue, and kentucky bluegrass, with some other native grasses mixed in, then had to cover it with straw blankets to aid in germination and to prevent runoff in the event of hard rains.

This was a two or three-person job. Each blanket was 75 feet long had to be pinned down at intervals to keep it in place.

Since our only water tap is inside the lower level of the building, we had to run a series of hoses with individual shutoffs in order to water the extensive area we had seeded. The hoses were so long and the water pressure such that only two sprinklers could be run at any one time. Attached to the hoses is an instruction sheet explaining the process to our "Water Wizards" team of about a dozen people, who took turns spending two hours or more per day watering.

April 30. It took about 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate, but soon a fine green peachfuzz was visible all around the retention basin.

Here you can see the seedlings poking through the blue-green netting that binds the straw blankets together. Grow little grasses, grow!

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Sunday, April 13 -- First service IN our building! 

First, Richard and Chris sweep last night's rain off our floor.

Prim and Marci set up the simple chalice table -- hoping it won't blow away.

John Searight and Jon Luoma are pressed into service as traffic control.

Who woulda thunk a bullhorn belonged at a Sunday service?

Remarks from Richard and Tull, builders extraordinaire.

Imagine that. Even teenage boys enjoyed the day.

We conclude the service with the forming of a circle. Dogs allowed.

What's all the hubbub behind the elevator pit?

We're voting on new names. South Jersey UU's, anyone?

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Floor joists go in 

Metal stairs are in, and now the floor joists and floor can be put in.

Chris Holaday and his crew starts installing the joists and floor.

Better hurry up, because in two days, we're having our FIRST Sunday service inside the building,
on this floor! Chris hammers madly.

With the floor in, it's starting to look like an upstairs/downstairs now.

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Septic done and steel started 

The backfilling is now done and you can walk up to the classroom level concrete walls and peer in. Below you can see the piers for the back deck (east side of the building).

The steel (by New Jersey Iron Co.) is starting to be erected and you can see now how tall the building will be.

The septic has been completed. It is 40 feet by 40 feet by 15 feet deep. There was a successful inspection by the County on March 12.

A big job that is looming is the stabilization and seeding of the bare soil areas of the site. This is required to be done soon after the replacing of the topsoil that was scraped off the original area, so that this precious topsoil is not lost by erosion (just one good long hard rain!). We will be depending on our congregation members who like to get dirty to do this work (and thus save us thousands of dollars), so be prepared to jump to it when Jesse and Mariann ask for your assistance. It's a big area, as you can see below.

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Classroom level walls are up 

During the last week of February, the concrete was poured that will form the walls of the classroom (lower) level. Here you see Richard and Chris reviewing plans for the walls on the south side, where the stairwell will be.

I'm guessing Chris has little fear of heights, as he is standing on the top of the wall --
about 16 feet up.

The first week in March, the waterproofing was applied to the bottom half of the walls.
The area will then be backfilled.

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Footings are poured! 

In the foreground of the first picture you can see the orange clay soil that is lining the very large retention basin, which is mandated by local and Pinelands regulations to catch rainwater runoff. This will be bounded by native vegetation, but a fence surrounding it will not be required.

Below you will see the footings up close. In the foreground are the footings for the exterior stair tower. Sticking up from the concrete you'll see reinforcing steel -- the orange squares on top are safety devices so no one will be impaled if they should fall onto the work. These steel "spikes" around the perimeter will be extended up to about 12 foot higher than the poured footings and horizontal steel will be added. They will then be encased in 10-inch thick concrete walls that will form the outside walls of the basement and support for the main floor.

In the next picture you'll see the smaller square wooden forms built for the footings for the steel columns that will support the main floor.

The last picture shows the footings for these steel column foundations. You can see four bolts sticking out of each of the six concrete areas - these will hold down the steel columns. The square excavated area on the right side is the pit for the elevator, where there will be one more steel column in the corner of the pit. In addition, there are two more columns to be mounted on the back wall of the building which have not been poured yet. Thus, there are 9 steel columns that will be holding up the main floor of the building. On these 22 steel beams will be installed. The main steel beam holding up the larger roof will be 27 inches high and 49 feet long.

-- information provided by Richard Grzywinski, photos by Mariann Maene
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Excavation and site work 

The earthmovers are here!

The top soil has been moved into large piles:

They're digging out the retention basin (it's huge!):

And are grading the area (below, to the left is where the actual building will be). The crushed stone driveway (temporary) is to prevent dirt and mud from being tracked onto Liebig Avenue.

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Status of work and timeline 

Tree Removal -- Complete

Charles Auchter completed his work in record time and did an excellent job. We actually adjusted our clearing line wherever we could save an extra tree.

Earth Work -- 20% complete

The top soil has been removed and placed in two piles for future re-application. You can see the two darker piles at opposite corners of the site. The site has been enclosed by silt fence to prevent soil erosion from the site. The contractor, Ray Harvey, is excavating the stormwater detention pond starting at the corner of Pomona and Leibig. If you see the bottom of the pond, that is at about the same elevation as our basement floor. The soil he is removing is being redistributed back onto the site to raise the elevation –- in some locations near the building by over 7 feet -– and is being compacted by steel rollers.

On Jan 19, Ray will be continuing excavation with the hope of getting all the soils relocated and compacted before any rainfall event. That way, the site will not turn into a mud hole and cause runoff problems.

The surveyor, Mike Vargo, had a two-person survey team out there all day Jan 18 marking elevations, and the building and parking lot locations.

You will note a stone road at the entrance. That is required so trucks do not drag mud onto Leibig Avenue.

Mr Harvey will begin excavating the actual building foundation next week, having it ready for the first pour of concrete. Overall, he is doing excellent work.

Concrete -- Order placed 1/17/08

The concrete contractor, D'Amico, will be out there on February 4.
Chris Holaday and I had a good meeting with them this week and all is go.

He will excavate a trench around the entire building perimeter, 1 foot deep and 2 feet wide. This will form the support for the wall. After that cures a few days, he will be constructing the aluminum form work for the walls of the basement. The wall will be 10 inches thick and about 12 feet high, and 240 feet long. It will contain massive amounts of reinforcing steel. It will take about two weeks to construct.

At the same time, he will be excavating a 4-foot deep hole for the reinforced concrete elevator pit, as well as various concrete supports for the seven steel columns that rest in the basement.
Following this form-building, he will set anchor bolts and steel plates onto which the steelwork rests. Two more steel columns actually sit on the wall. Simultaneously, Chris Holaday will build treated wood forms that will be set into the forms at the locations of windows and air ventilation louvers. I will be ordering steel pipe sleeves to be used for running in geothermal and domestic water lines.

The pouring of concrete is highly symbolic. If you wish to observe, please let Chris or I know.

Structural Steel -- Order placed 1/18/08

New Jersey Iron will be fabricating the 9 steel columns and 22 steel beams that from the main structure, as well as anchor bolts. We authorized them to order the steel for fabrication.

LEED certification

Steve Fiedler has been monitoring all work closely and is at the site frequently. He will be leading the roof selection activities which is the next significant contract.

-- submitted by Richard Grzywinski
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Goodbye trees 

We're very sorry to see the trees go....
but construction is really, truly, finally under way!

The area was cleared during the week of January 7 thru 11.

The top picture was taken at our Groundbreaking, November 18, 2007.
The remainder were taken January 8,9, and 10, 2008.

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Many many details 

As you all know we have had Galloway Township Site Plan approval for some time.

The Atlantic County Planning Department also approved our Site Plan at a hearing on December 5. We have paid a $1,680 corridor assessment, submitted legal documents having to do with Rights-of-way, and a road opening permit when it comes time to connect to the water supply. All of this is standard.

At our December 13 meeting at the Pinelands Commission office, the Pinelands staff removed the restrictions that have held us up for so long. They promised a letter to be sent by Friday, December 21 authorizing us to proceed with construction through foundations (which is a lot) pending revision of the Site Plan to reflect the Township's agreement with the removal of the restriction. [ED Note: They did send this letter as promised.]

The Galloway Township Building Permit application will be submitted within the next week. We will also be depositing the "Inspection Escrow" that funds the inspections by the Township Engineer.

The Atlantic County Health Department has approved our septic plan design subject to the receipt of Pinelands approval.

We have a very competitive proposal from Charles Auchter to do the site clearing and earthwork, which will begin as soon as we have the Building Permit. The township will have to review our tree protection flags which have been clearly marked at the site. After the clearing, a "base course" of asphalt for our parking lot area will be laid that will take us through the construction period so that we don't cause soil erosion problems with truck traffic (the "final course" will go on last).

Bids for concrete and steel for the actual structure are due in on January 7. We will be soliciting roofing bids as soon as we decide on a "green" material, possibly Ecostar (recycled plastic), or a metal roof.

LEED certification remains a goal and Steve Fiedler is being consulted as we move forward. We decided to asphalt the parking lot instead of LEED-preferred concrete primarily due to cost concerns, but are incorporating LEED issues anywhere we can.

-- Richard Grzywinski
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The Breaking of the Ground, Sunday, November 18, 2007 

Our ground is blessed and broken. For those who were not among the 70 people there, the skies were dark, and there was a light drizzle, but it did not dampen spirits.

We walked in to Barbara Miller’s drumbeat, followed by a flute solo by Jessi April. Two hawks and some blue jays added to the beginning sounds. The four directions were blessed by Theresa McReynolds; she also paid tribute to the spirit trees who would be giving their lives for our building.

Paul Utts introduced our guests from the community. The president of Stockton College sent Dr. Thomasa Gonzalez, the Dean of Students, to represent him with a welcome from the college. Paul then spoke of what having our own home will mean to the congregation. Jon Luoma followed, describing the green features that are planned for the building.

For our most symbolic moment, shovels, decorated with multi colored ribbon by Margaret Rea, were handed to eight representatives of our group. These shovels were not shiny newly-bought shovels, but used working shovels, in keeping with our green values. Our “shovelers” all were stand-ins for larger groups within our community: Jean Wiant, representing those who founded us; Jesse Connor, the Board and the entire congregation; John Searight, all the financial donors; Richard Grzywinski, the Home Team, and all the time they are donating; Robert and Paige Sturts, our newest members and harbingers of our future growth; Emmalee H., our children and future; and Rev .Dr Speck, the larger faith community of which we are a part.

Dr. Speck gave the last speech, which eloquently stated what the values and the presence of the Unitarian Universalist faith will mean to the community. After the rousing closing song of “Come and Go With Me to That Land,” we ended with sampling a “gift from the vineyard.” Lots of us then took a shovel and broke a little ground, providing lots of photo ops.

After the last folks had gone and were in their cars, the light drizzle turned to heavy rain.

Both Jim Gentile and Mariann Maene were our photographers, but many more cameras were on the scene. Steve Fiedler offered the services of his brother, Martin, who is a professional videographer, to film both the 10:00 service, and the groundbreaking. So, those who missed will have a chance to see it all.

Another aspect of this ceremony was the number of people who were involved in the details, and how smoothly everything went. Debbi Dagavarian had arranged for Stockton Police to assist us in crossing busy Pomona Road from the Stockton parking lot. TJ Jannsch and Helene Gentile made sure that folks knew where they could park. Peg and Bob Felix handed out the programs, Pam Hendrick directed us to standing in the right places, and Jack Miller made sure those who needed chairs got them. We could hear very well, thanks to Michael Cluff’s expert setup of the sound equipment at the site. Through Ronda Cluff’s efforts, a Press reporter and photographer were there. The Groundbreaking Planning Committee, consisting of Ronda Cluff, Mariann Maene, Barbara Miller, Paul Utts, and Betsy Searight, had planned well.

The ten o’clock Service preceding the groundbreaking ceremony is also an important part of our history. Eight five people attended. Of this number, four were from the Wilmington Growth Committee (Karel Toll, Joan Priest, Dave Sheppard, and Nancy Pinson), a group that helped to start and sustain us. We also had Frank and June MacArtor, supporters from the UU Society of Mill Creek, Delaware. Jean Wiant, and her husband Fred, were very welcome visitors. Jean was key in the actual starting of our congregation, and our first RE Director. Colby Tippins provided home hospitality, and Marsha Hannah hosted a dinner on Saturday evening for Jean and those who knew her from the early years.

Rev. Dr. Richard Speck in his message advised us that there would be mistakes made in the plans and construction of the building, and to be forgiving of those mistakes. We would have differences of opinion arising from the use of the building. But the ability to compromise and demonstrate right relationships with each other will demonstrate the essence of us as a community.

A luncheon, coordinated by Evelyn Benton and others from the FUUN committee, and well supplied by the congregation, was much appreciated.

-- submitted by Betsy Searight

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Our groundbreaking will be on Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 1:00 pm.

Earlier that morning, we are honored to have Richard Speck, District Executive for the Joseph Priestley District of the UUA, speak to us at our morning service at 10:00 am. After the service, we will have a potluck luncheon. We hope many of our members and friends will be on hand for this momentous occasion!
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