January 4, 2014
In mid July of 2013 we began phase 1 of construction to the new Reception Hall. Ideally, starting construction work in April is preferred; starting in July was a bit risky as we feared early fall rains would cause delays and create a messy work environment. Our contractor assured us he could get the job done, so we proceeded. Little did we know rain was not going to be a problem. All of this work was completed on time, the work was well done and it all came in at, or under, budget.
Here is a brief list of all the items we completed in phase 1.
back retaining wall
water tanks and pipes for fire sprinkler system.
The entire building project is a two story complex, which will include a spacious meditation hall, a larger and more efficient kitchen, office, library, guest rooms, child care room, laymen bathrooms and showers, laundry, a small shrine room/reliquary, plus covered decks and storage rooms. Future projects associated with this building will include demolition of the existing house, courtyard drainage, landscaping, wheel chair accessible paths, covered walkways that tie into all of the existing buildings and the construction of a small pavilion/covered deck near the abbot's office.
This entire project probably will take some years to complete, funding being the determining factor. We are considering breaking the remaining work into several phases. If we do this, phase 2 would consist of completing the main structure to a point where it would be protected from the weather. The structure would have finished exterior walls, finished roofs, windows and doors. This work could be completed in one building season. The estimate for completing this phase is $900,000. We have received a considerable amount of donations, but are well below the amount we need to proceed with phase 2. Just for people's information, phase 3, the completion of the whole project, would be almost an additional $1 million dollars in order for us to occupy the building. These are embarrassingly high numbers, but it seems to be what it costs these days to build in California!
After phase 1 was completed, Garman and Sons Construction, who did most of the heavy equipment projects, volunteered their time and services to grade and add gravel to our extensive road system in the monastery, which had suffered much erosion over the years. Much appreciation to them and the many people who helped make this a successful building season.