Fairlington's Building Renovation

June 19, 2017

Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent Focus Group and Town Hall sessions with the architects. Approximately 100 people attended at least one of these meetings. At the Town Hall, we learned the results of the Congregational Survey. The report is available here for those who want to dig into the details. If you have thoughts regarding the direction of a particular ministry or what a ministry's needs are in the church building, please send your comments to Daphne Miller or Carol Hunter, using the links below. You may also call the church office at 703.671.8557 and leave a message for Daphne or Carol to call you.

Since the last update, the Church Council convened a called charge conference to vote to proceed with naming a Building Committee that will lead the process of creating a Master Plan and phased renovation approach. There will be other benchmarks along the way that will require congregational input and approval.

The Building Committee members are:

Daphne Miller, Chairperson

Lea Anne, Communications Team

Lana Hurdle, Giving Team

Carol Hunter, Project Team

Sue Gunter, Spirituality Team

Clint Stretch, Trustees Representative

Keith Davis, Finance Representative

Anne Wilson, Church Council

Gerry Hebert, Lay Leader

Christian White, clergy

Mary Beth Blinn, Lead Pastor


For those who are interested in the details, below is a list of the tasks that were agreed upon in our contract with the architects. Items will be marked COMPLETE as they have been done. The architects will work through these tasks in the coming months. Once they are finished, the goal is to have a Master Plan document that also identifies phases of construction with estimated costs so we can decide as a church what we are able to support through our Capital Campaign.

Task I: Existing Building CAD Drawings and Space Inventory: The Architect will prepare base site and floor plan CAD drawings to scale of the existing site and Church buildings showing existing conditions, parking layout, rooms and current uses. These drawings will be based on existing copies of construction documents of existing buildings provided by the Church. Believing this information will provide a reasonable degree of accuracy, and in the interest of time and budget, exhaustive field survey of existing conditions will not be provided; however, where existing conditions clearly differ from existing drawings, the Owner and Architect will make a reasonable effort to incorporate current information. These base plan drawings are expected to show net floor areas, doors, windows, built-in furnishings, and plumbing fixtures, but will not include existing mechanical and electrical systems or other concealed items. Final Task I work product will include base floor plan CAD drawings of the existing building and a tabular space inventory in Microsoft Excel Format of existing areas for use in analyzing existing available building area as part of future tasks.  

Estimated Time to Complete Task I: 2-4 Weeks

(IN PROCESS) Task II: Existing Site Conditions and Feasibility Report: The Architect will engage Walter L. Phillips, Inc., Civil Engineer, to review potential site limitations, including such items as easements, access, water and sewer availability, electric and other utilities; zoning limitations including set-backs, screening, FAR, and expected parking requirements; and overall development requirements, including likely Storm Water Management improvements associated with any new impervious area, etc. Using existing records and aerial survey to conserve initial fee, the Civil Engineer will prepare an existing conditions and site constraints base site plan to illustrate the above requirements, and to serve as the basis for Master Plan studies noted below. The Civil Engineer will prepare a Site Feasibility Memorandum outlining entitlement restrictions and noting the above areas of interest. The Civil Engineer will coordinate with the Owner’s Land-Use Attorney for a preliminary meeting with City of Alexandria. The Fee established in Part B of this proposal shall be considered a not-to-exceed allowance, to be invoiced hourly for the work noted above, including an initial meeting with City Planning and Zoning staff. A formal proposal for such future work as needed to take the project through City of Alexandria’s Special Permit entitlement process and future Site Plan design will be established as a Phase I budget, construction scope and timeline becomes clearer.                        Estimated Time to Complete Task II: 4-6 Weeks

Task II-A: Land-Use Attorney Coordination with City of Alexandria: This proposal does not include the services of a Land-Use Attorney, provided under contract directly to the Church, which is potentially recommended by the Architect and Civil Engineer prior to meeting with City of Alexandria, depending on emerging site development complexities. The Church’s Land-Use Attorney will be responsible for reviewing the site’s entitlement-related constraints, strategizing with the Owner, Architect and Civil Engineer on design concepts, and coordinating a preliminary meeting with appropriate City Zoning staff. The Architect will offer several suggested attorney names to the Church for the Church’s review and solicitation. A budget allowance for an attorney is included in the Fee Section of this proposal for the Owner’s preliminary budget purposes.

Task II-B: Existing Building MPE Survey Report – Optional, As Owner Deems Prudent The Architect understands that the Owner has in relatively recent years completed at least some of its own existing building MPE evaluation and replacement work, and that new MPE survey work may not need to have a comprehensive, full-building scope. Thus the fees included in Part B of this proposal may be negotiated further depending on the final scope required. The Architect and Owner understand and agree that the parties may negotiate survey work on an “as needed” basis. Should such need arise, the Architect’s team would likely provide such services on an hourly basis, perhaps for a not-to-exceed sum to be agreed upon with the Owner prior to commencement. An allowance for such potential services is included in Part B of this Agreement.                        Estimated Time to Complete Task II-B: 2-3 Weeks

Task III: Online Survey, Ministry Interviews, and Campus Master Plan Program 

(COMPLETE) III-A. Online Survey. With the agreement of the Church that such a survey would bring value to the Owner (and recognizing that the Church has done exhaustive survey and visioning to date), the Architect may conduct an online-survey, refreshing work already completed but now several years old. The online survey will be open to Church members for a period of approximately two weeks. Upon closing, the data gathered in this survey will provide useful program and design information from a broad spectrum of Church members, with tabulated percentages of respondents identifying as empirically as possible ministry program and building priorities. Results will be gathered in a summary report.

(COMPLETE) III-B. Face-to-Face Ministry Interviews. As agreed useful and helpful, and approximately one week after the online survey is released (not sooner, typically), the Architect will begin up to six (6) face-to-face interviews with Church-designated ministry groups for the purpose of gathering ministry-specific information useful in identifying long- range ministry goals. These six interviews will be coordinated through the Church leadership, and are expected to last approximately 50 minutes each. When ministries are related, two groups might meet with the architect in a joint interview session. Thus as many as 8-10 ministry and program groups might be interviewed within the proposed six sessions. These six interviews shall be held on three (3) total dates, with one of those three dates held as a single staff-preschool interview. Typically, participation includes such ministry groups as Worship and Music, Fellowship-related ministries, Children and Preschool ministries and programs, Youth and Adults, and Pastoral Staff and Building Administration. These interviews will focus on long term (5 to 10 year) ministry goals and desires, as well as existing building deficiencies and proficiencies, basic practical needs, and “wish list” priorities for building improvements. Participants should be prepared for the interviews, and leave behind notes for the team’s reference are welcome.

(COMPLETE) III-C. Town Hall Meeting “Charrette” Session. Should the Church believe that work already completed in its Exploratory Building Planning make the above Congregational Survey and Face-to-Face Interviews unnecessary, the Architect still recommends at a minimum that a Task III-C “Town Hall meeting” be held for all interested members to participate in a discussion of needs and priorities and ideas with the Architect. The usefulness, timing and/or structure of this Church-wide meeting shall be at the discretion of the Church, but this might occur on a Sunday morning between worship services, or after the second service. Based on online and face-to-face interviews, the Town Hall Session, and information previously gathered by the Church, the Architect will prepare an executive summary confirming major program long-range building objectives. This document is expected to serve as a Statement of Need as required by the UMC Book of Discipline. Campus Master Plan Program. Based on the above Program Confirmation Interview and/or Town Hall Session, the Architect will prepare a draft Campus Master Plan Program for review with the Building Committee, demonstrating how the building program will meet the church’s need as established above. This Campus Master Plan Program will include a line item space-by space description of all areas identified as part of the Church’s long-term ministry goals. The need for these spaces will be identified and/or supported by the interviews conducted with the Church, or other information supplied by the Building Committee. The Architect will meet with the Committee to reach consensus and approval of a final proposed Campus Master Plan Program. This Owner-approved Campus Master Plan Program, along with the Summary of Existing Building Area prepared above, will indicate a general range of new additional building area required, and will serve as the basis of design for studies of various Campus Master Plans as noted in Task IV below. Final Task III work product will include a compiled summary of the online interview results, face-to-face interview minutes; an executive summary of the identified major program area long range building objectives; and a line item space-by-space Campus Master Plan Program in Microsoft Excel describing the proposed ministry areas (allocated square footage), use (worship, dedicated or general purpose classroom, office, youth space, etc.) and capacity (how many persons the space can reasonably accommodate) for the entire Church facility.

Est. Time to Complete Task III upon Completion of Tasks I and II: 3-4 Weeks

Task IV: Building Master Plan Studies and Proposed Plan The Architect will prepare on base documents completed as part of Task I approximately three to five initial Building Master Plan Studies. These Master Plan studies will show existing building plans and conceptual plans for possible demolition, new buildings and/or existing building renovations to address needs identified. Master Plan studies will particularly address long-term strategies for movement from parking areas into the building to greeting, gathering and Narthex areas; to worship, office, music and classroom areas. The Architect will meet with the Owner’s representatives approximately five times: to review the initial proposed studies; to review a consensus composite study; to review budget estimates prepared by the selected General Contractor (see Task V below), and to review a refined final scheme, phasing plan and budget that the Committee agrees best reflects the Church’s Campus Master Plan goals and objectives. As part of its work, the Architect will compare the projected costs for the proposed work of renovation and expansion on the current site against a conceptual budget cost for development of a new church on a new site. This will allow the Owner to evaluate at a rough order of magnitude the value of renovation and expansion on the current site vs. the cost (exclusive of land) to build all-new elsewhere. Final Task IV work product will include presentation quality scale Campus Master Building Plan of all three building levels showing color-coded locations of major ministry areas, plan concepts for renovations and improvements, phasing priorities, and associated costs as developed in conjunction with the General Contractor. Presentations of the proposed Campus Master Plan to the Church Council and Congregation are included in the Task IV fee—expected to be on a Sunday morning, or another mutually agreed-upon time.

Estimated Time to Complete Task IV upon Completion of Task III: 6-8 Weeks

Task IV-A: Conceptual Rendering A separate line item is included for an artist-quality perspective rendering to be developed in conjunction with the above plan drawings, as needed to facilitate congregational discussion.

Task V: Conceptual Project Budgeting The Architect expects that an experienced General Contractor that regularly works with churches will perform preliminary estimating for the above Master Plan work for a limited fee under the Architect’s contract directly related to concepts and early MPE systems concept budgeting. Following master planning and conceptual design of the identified Phase I project, the General Contractor will submit a proposal directly to the church for further estimating services. The Church and Architect understand that there is no agreement for the Church to continue work with the General Contractor; a matter for further discussion following Tasks I-IV above. The Architect will coordinate with the General Contractor selected for pre-construction budgeting services during Task IV as noted above, providing drawings and showing concepts. The Architect's time for this coordination is included within the Architect's fees for the tasks noted above.

Estimated time to Complete Task V upon Provision of Drawings to Contractor: 3-4 Weeks 

May 8, 2017

We as church are starting an exciting era of discovery and renewal. Nearly 75 years ago, a group of Christians gathered to create Fairlington Church connected by their faith in Christ and their belief that the Fairlington area needed a church. Over a period of years they grew in number and built the space they needed to meet and worship and, from which, they engaged in mission to the community. Our buildings are now in need for renewal to carry us in mission into the next 70 years.

To begin, we need to hear from you. Our architects, Lemay, Erickson, Willcox, have developed this Online Congregational Survey to learn from you about how you use the building now and how you envision use of the building in the future. We need to hear from everyone, so please spend the few minutes to complete the survey today (deadline May 17, 2017).

Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness as we all step out in faith.

July 22, 2016

God is good and so are your questions about our building effort at Fairlington.

 Building Report 07.2016 

Regardless of age or length of time you have been involved at FUMC, please consider using your gifts by serving on a task group. Space is available for any volunteer from the congregation who wishes to share their gifts, time and talents. 

To get  involved, please email the church office at Office@fairlingtonumc.org or Daphne Miller at daphnemiller617@aol.com.

 Together we are excited about our continued and new opportunities to welcome, nurture and serve.


Previous Postings:

Please pray for Fairlington UMC - The Spirituality Team has prepared a 13-week prayer guide. Please join in praying for FUMC as we plan for our mission and building renovation needs. A printed copy of the booklet is available in the Church Narthex (foyer) or by clicking the link below.

FUMC Weekly Prayer Guide

"Renovation and Renewal: Growing to Meet Our Mission" is the tagline for our building effort and was generated by our congregation. The logo was designed by our very own Will Hensley who an 11 year old sixth grader and active member of the FUMC youth program. A special thanks to Will for sharing his incredible talents with us for an image that will take us through exploratory process and possible building renovation.

June 2015

Dear Congregation,

As you are probably aware the Exploratory Building Committee was formed last year and tasked with exploring the linkage between our church's mission and our current facility. The committee has reached out to outside organizations to gather information to assist us in a possible building renovation and most importantly gathering input from within the congregation on the strengths and weaknesses of our current facilities.

The report below summarizes the feedback from the congregation that we have gathered to date from congregational conversations and an on-line survey.  Thank you to all who took the time to participate in our meetings and respond to the survey. This initial information gathering phase is just one of many times throughout this process that we will be soliciting feedback from the congregation. We hope that you will join us in our future congregational conversations and we hope that you will review our report and share any thoughts that it brings to mind. We want this to be as inclusive and transparent a process as possible.   


Jennie Gwin, chair Exploratory Building Committee

Report of Congregational Input for a Building Renovation with appendix

(to share this report with others, send them this link: http://goo.gl/WuTTXG)

Report of Congregational Input for a Building Renovation

Frequently Asked Questions

November 2014

Can We Talk?

This year Fairlington celebrates 70 years as a Christian congregation.  Given our strong past, now is the time to discuss how our building and facilities can best support our mission for the future.  At the two remaining congregational conversations we will gather as a congregation to discuss the relationship between our mission and our building and facilities.  We hope you will join your voice to the conversation by attending one of the four sessions.  Every person, regardless of age or faith history, has a unique and God-given voice.  Let's talk together.  Click the link below for our Frequently Asked Questions.


Congregational Conversations

Dates & Times

Saturday, November 15, 9:30am -11:00am

Sunday, November 16, 12:15pm -1:45pm

The congregational family will gather in the FUMC Fellowship Hall on each date.

Childcare will be provided upon request. Please look for details in upcoming bulletins.

September, 2014

Blueprint for Mission to Building Committee

By: Jennie Gwin, Chair


Where We've Been

A little over a year ago I was asked to serve on our Church’s Blueprint for Mission team.  This group was formed in order to explore how FUMC can best grow and strengthen its existing missions. Over the course of last year we studied the writings of an expert in church missions, Dr. Kennon Callahan. In our discussions of how Dr. Callahan’s writings applied to FUMC, it became clear to us that our congregation has many existing strengths in the areas of education, service, and worship.


This dynamic congregation has been actively engaged in mission work, worship, Bible studies, community service projects, and music ministry for over 70 years. Our efforts engage individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds both within the congregation and in our larger community.


Through our discussions it became clear to the Blueprint for Mission team that all of FUMC’s missions could be greatly improved through modifications to our existing buildings that would better facilitate the gatherings and events that make FUMC so special. Our building is heavily used by a broad array of groups and we want to be able to continue to serve as place for worship, education, and service. However, we cannot ignore the fact that our building is aging and increasingly cramped for the volume of meetings and activities we host.


Recognizing the need to update aspects of our aging building in order to better carry out our existing missions the Blueprint for Mission team recommended the creation of a Building Exploratory Committee to the Church Council.  In January the Council authorized the creation of a Building Committee to lead the congregation in an exploration of what physical changes could be make to our existing buildings to help us improve our worship and outreach. 


Next Steps

As Chair of the Building Committee I invite you to participate as much as possible in this exploratory process.  We want this to be an inclusive process that considers the needs of all of our members and service organizations. We are in the process of forming task groups within the committee. A description of the task groups and an overview of the organizations will be distributed after Sunday services in May as well as posted on the Connect boards and available through the links here.


If you would like to serve on a task group please contact the Church office or email me at jennie.gwin@gmail.com.  We plan to begin holding meetings for congregational input in the fall and we hope that everyone will participate in this important series of meetings that will inform our next steps. We invite you to join us in this exciting process of planning for the future of FUMC.  In this our 70th year let’s look forward to where we can go from here. It is time to start the discussion of how best to celebrate our history, revisit our mission, dream and pray about the future, and more intentionally discern God's will.

July, 2014

Meet our Building Committee Leadership Team

By Jennie Gwin


As you have heard announced during worship services and have read in recent SteepleTalk issues, Fairlington UMC is at the beginning of an exciting process to update our well-used building to match the mission of our dynamic congregation.  One of our first steps in this project is complete – we have convened members of our congregation who will serve on the building committee and chair the task groups.  It is my honor to serve as chair of the Design task group and of the building committee and work with my fellow congregants serving on the committee, along with Fairlington’s clergy.  The rest of the leadership is pictured and listed below.


Building Committee Leadership Team (l - r):  Rev. Christian White (Minister of Congregational Family Life), Pam Goodell (Event Planning), Daphne Miller (Group Facilitation), Rev. Greg Adkins (Lead Pastor), Lana Hurdle (Giving), June Stowe (Partnerships), Jennie Gwin, Building Committee Chair (Design), Chris Weathers (Research), Lea Anne Foster (Communications); (inserts): Sue Gunter (Prayer and Spiritual Development), Rev. Tonya Douce (Associate Pastor)


Hopefully, the message has come through loud and clear that this is an inclusive process and there is a place for you to be involved as we work together to build a spiritual house. To learn more about opportunities to serve on a task group, visit FUMC website at http://www.fairlingtonumc.org/page/building-2.

We have a long journey ahead of us which will require faith, cooperation, prayer and teamwork.  Please reach out to me, another member of the building committee or one of our pastors if you have questions about how you can serve on a task group or if you simply have questions about the time commitment. 

While we have the long view, recognizing that this process will take not only months but likely years, we hope to hear from you soon on your interest to serve on a task group.  The work on a number of these groups begins in earnest right away.  You will be kept informed on where we are in the process and asked to provide insight whether or not you are able to serve on a task group.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support for the work that lies ahead as we determine what physical changes could be made to our building to improve our worship, service and education.


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