In order to more fully support the full roster of programs that COS offers its community alongside the robust menu of services that Care For Friends offers to the community at large, our new Community Center will replace the existing Parish Hall with an up-to-date, three story building on the back half of the campus.
The Center connects to our historic sanctuary in a way that is compliant with modern fire codes and is accessible to all, while leaving the historic beauty of the 150-year-old worship space unaltered.
New building meets alley in same place as current parish hall
New building is same height as current parish hall
Today, the main worship space and the parish hall are two separate buildings, and the levels between them are not aligned with one another. The pews in the sanctuary are just a few steps up from street level, while the main parish hall space is a full flight of steps up, and the classrooms a half flight down from street level.
As a result, moving between the buildings requires a lot of going up and down stairs, along with use of an add-on chair lift in the sanctuary and a "temporary" alumninum ramp that has been on the front of the building for over a decade.
The lower level of the new new Community Center will actually be dug a few feet lower than our current parish hall. This allows for 12 foot ceiling heights downstairs, while putting the main floor on the same level as the pews in the sanctuary - no need for a chair lift or going up stairs to get to coffee hour!
This main level's ceilings will be a generous 14 feet tall, and still allow for the construction of a third-floor (with 13 foot ceilings) - all without creating any change to the overall height of the building!
New third floor with generous ceilings fits in building with same-height roof
Main floor of new building at same grade as pews.
Lower level of new building is a few steps down from current undercroft.
Visitors to the Center will have access to all areas of the builiding through a modern elevator or via a sun-filled windowed staircase.
A gently-sloping ramp will also allow access to both the Center and the Sanctuary through a parking lot door which is slightly higher than today's.
Sun-filled staircase and elevator provide access to all levels of the Community Center
A permanent ramp provides access to the new parking lot door
(now at level of pews)
The Main Level
The main level of the building consists of an adaptable meeting space that can be adjusted to accommodate many different needs. This floor’s high-quality finishes make an ideal place for wedding receptions, graduation parties, and income-generating rentals by outside groups – and can seat 25% more people at the annual ASP dinner than today’s parish hall does today.
A pleasant room is a great place for brides to get ready for their big day, small groups to meet, or private counselling sessions to take place.
A warming kitchen and coffee station provide easy support to our famous Sunday morning coffee and cookie hours, movie nights, and other parish events, while larger catering needs can be serviced from the lower-level kitchen, with convenient elevator access to deliver carts and trays of hot food.
Inside, the current stairwell is replaced by an entrance hall that provides access to the sanctuary as well as new bathrooms. A nice-sized elevator provides access to the upper and lower floors – but because this new main level is at the same elevation as our pews, visitors will be able to access the sanctuary, sacristy, meeting space, pleasant room and everything else on this floor without needing to use any stairs or lifts.
Outside, the “temporary” access ramp can finally be removed, replaced by a very slightly sloping ramp that sits between the East wall of the church and the parking lot (which maintains the same number of parking spaces we have today, or perhaps a couple more by taking just a bit more of the front lawn space).
Other than removing the current lift and stairs from the northeast corner of the church, nothing will change in our current worship space. Truly, the Episcopal Church will be able to welcome all equally to this place that has served generations of Episcopalians for over 150 years.
Parking lot keeps same number of spaces as today - or can gain a few more by moving a bit further into front lawn
Wheelchair accessible access to sanctuary, parish hall, restrooms and pleasant room all on same level.
66% larger Pleasant Room
Warming station support for coffee hours and small meetings.
25% more seating for ASP Dinner and other events
The large space can provide seated dinner for 160 (while our current parish hall seats 128). This expanded seating makes the space ideal for weddings, graduation parties, and other community events.
Using moveable, soundproofed banquet-style walls, it can also be subdivided to support smaller-group meetings, like AA, neighborhood condo association meetings, or other functions - including group rentals.
The Lower Level
The lower level of the Center consists of a commercial-grade kitchen and pantry (twice as large as our current kitchen), showers, laundry machines, and a multi-purpose space that can accommodate all of the meals, medical care and job training that Care For Friends provides to their homeless guests each week.
It also doubles bathroom capacity – and can serve as a great “home base” for youth groups travelling to Chicago as part of their summer service projects., with optional shower or laundry facilities.
Kitchen is 2.25 times larger than current kitchen.
Multipurpose room seats 160 (25% more than current parish hall)
Expanded bathroom capacity follows city guidelines for a community of our size
Possible shower or laundry facility.
Integrated elevator can provide kitchen support to main-floor banquets.
The Upper Level
A sunlight-filled staircase leads to the upper floor – which is fully built-out and dedicated to youth education. Each of our Atriums, plus the Junior and Senior high classes will move from their current basement locations to new top-floor space – with windows providing sunlight to each of these classrooms. They will each benefit from more square footage than they enjoy today, and a soundproofed, banquet-style wall between two rooms allows them to be opened into a very large, 900 square foot space.
Dedicated, child-sized bathrooms – and another top floor service and snack station – can also make this an appealing space for rental to weekday preschools or arts classes; and two dedicated entrances to the building can safely and easily separate these student groups from other activities that might be happening in the areas of the building that are more open to the public.
Over the past 20 years of planning, the COS community, architecture, and designing teams have always expressed a desire to create a building that respects the environment and effectively stewards our resources. One important objective, then, is to achieve “LEED” certification for all possible efficiencies and materials.
Another objective is to construct the roof in such a way that it can accommodate a future rooftop garden and outdoor gathering space.
We will also improve our outdoor spaces and landscaping as part of this project to increase awareness and visibility of the COS program space to Fullerton parkway traffic, but do so in a way that conserves water and maintains an adaptable building design that will allow multiple, changing future uses of the campus for long-term sustainability.
Moveable wall for jumbo classroom
Life Under Construction
We will not begin construction on the project until we have a financial plan secured to take us all the way through to completion. When construction begins, however, it is expected to span across 16 months.
During some phases of the work, we will need to function at a different location. In the past years, we have had multiple conversations with local schools, churches, and other institutions who can provide suitable places for us to gather while keeping our costs at a minimum, and we will finalize those agreements before beginning construction.
We are fortunate to have remodeled the rectory in 2011 for offices and small meeting spaces which will continue to serve us well during construction, and we also learned during the Great COVID Pause of 2020 how to effectively provide online worship and community experiences that we can use again for any portions of the construction timeline that provide no other alternative.