The Welcoming Building Project
Living our commitment to welcoming and serving everyone
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (SVUUS) is an intentionally diverse religious community with a mission to celebrate religious freedom, nurture curiosity and learning, and work toward a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world. SVUUS serves more than 30,000 participants through its religious, humanitarian, educational, cultural and community programs, each year. Fully 86% of this service is through programs that are open to the general public.
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (SVUUS) is committed to welcoming and serving all people, regardless of race, color, creed, sexual preference, national origin, income, or ability. We live this commitment daily through our on-site programs, outreach, community participation, hosting of cultural events, policies, practices and conversations. We live this commitment unreservedly, except in the area of physical access.
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society occupies a beautiful, two story building. A large sanctuary/concert hall is the centerpiece of the facility's main level. A lower level hosts classrooms, a social hall, restrooms and kitchen.
Unfortunately, there is no elevator connecting these floors and no fully accessible restroom servicing these program areas. If someone is challenged by stairs or limited in strength, they are excluded from full participation in our community and its programs.
SVUUS recognizes that the limitations of its current facility constitute a barrier to full public participation in all of these offerings and to full use of the South Valley facility by the greater South Valley Community. As an organization dedicated to inclusion and service, we find ourselves in the unacceptable position of excluding participants on a daily basis, in the area of physical ability.
- Our goal is to have a building that is a good host to all and that stimulates participation by an ever larger and more diverse community of participants – participants who will broaden and enrich our programs and experiences and programs that will broaden and enrich the cultural experiences of the greater Salt Lake community.
- Our goal is to live our commitment to serve everyone not only through our programs, but also in the very fabric of our organization – our building.
- Our goal is that no one is denied access to our programs or made to feel in any way treated as a person with “special” needs.
- Our goal is to stop making excuses and to bring our program into full alignment with our most basic principles – that of respecting the inherent worth and dignity of everyone and of supporting their free and responsible search for truth.
To realize these goals, SVUUS has initiated the Welcoming Building Project. This project will connect our building’s program floors with an elevator and install a fully accessible, assistance-friendly, family restroom on the main level. The purchase of large print and Braille hymnals, improved projection systems and other program adjustments will bring SVUUS’ facility and its programs into alignment with our commitment to participation and service for all.
Who Will Benefit:
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society is a congregation of approximately 300 children and adults. Despite being a relatively small community, SVUUS serves more than 30,000 participants through its programs each year, and, as noted above, fully 86% of these are through programs that are open to the general public.
Besides its Sunday services and associated educational programs, SVUUS hosts: events to support community awareness, education and social action; celebrations of ethnic, age, and religious diversity; community and family groups looking to remember, commemorate, explore, celebrate or learn, together.
A sampling of nationally significant cultural events from the past year includes: a public presentation by the former Mayor of Hiroshima, Hiraoka; Michael Dowd’s lecture “Thank God for Evolution;” violinist Paul Mercer in concert; David DeRosa’s evocative art show and behind the scenes workshop; a workshop by renowned author Christopher Penczak.
In creative complement to the above, SVUUS hosts a vibrant and varied calendar of monthly community groups and regular events, such as: the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association concert series; the Weaver’s Guild; the Salt Lake Accordion Club; the SVUUS Coffee House; Darkmoon Drumming.
Of course, at the heart of SVUUS are the many humanitarian programs that SVUUS supports and hosts. These include: Family Promise; Compassion and Choices; The Religious Transition Group; Heifer Project brunches; Coalition Of Religious Communities. Starting this month, SVUUS’ humanitarian service increases dramatically as Alcoholics Anonymous begins use of the building every evening.
Many organizers of cultural and educational events are drawn to SVUUS as a venue because of its outstanding location just off Interstate 215 and its reputation as a place that supports innovative ideas, events and performances. Unfortunately, SVUUS’s inability to provide full physical access is a barrier to many who would otherwise enthusiastically take advantage of our facility. We anticipate that SVUUS will become a more vibrant community resource for the southern Salt Lake/Sandy area, once the facility is fully accessible. Initial estimates are that our community participation could expand by as much as 20% in the first year once the Welcoming Building Project is complete.
Project Objectives and Timeline:
By November, 2008, provide a fully accessible, assistance friendly restroom on the main level, adjacent to the Sanctuary/Concert hall and accessible by elevator to all major program spaces. Status: Construction began October 4th.
By January, 2009, connect all major program spaces through the purchase and installation of a limited use, limited access elevator to be located on the south end of the building’s lobby:
- Adjacent to the front door, stairs, sanctuary/concert hall and accessible restroom (main level).
- Adjacent to the social hall/kitchen (lower level).
Access to the lower level classrooms will be via elevator and through the social hall.
Status: The elevator is on order and construction of the exterior shaft is underway.
By May, 2009, complete an accessibility audit of SVUUS public programs and generate a plan for any further remediation needed to support SVUUS’ goal of serving everyone.
Timely completion of the above objectives will be one criterion for project success. Achievement of project outcomes/goals will be assessed through an accessibility audit that will include a critical appraisal provided by Access Utah and informal interviews with facility users and staff. Project success in impacting community participation in SVUUS events will be assessed through a combination of event counts, attendance counts and informal interviews. A project report will be submitted to the Foundation by June 30, 2009.
The Welcoming Building Project is a nine month, $120,000 project, exclusive of in-kind donations and additional building remodels. Major budgeted items include:
- $88,000 for the elevator purchase, housing and installation;
- $12,000 for the construction and equipping of the full access, assistance-friendly, family restroom;
- $14,000 in related program and building upgrades;
- $4,000 for on-site supervision
- $2,000 for publications and events.
As with everything we do, SVUUS is committed to partnering with other community leaders, while providing significant support from our own SVUUS community of members and friends.
SVUUS has challenged society members, alumni and friends to raise $96,000 in gifts and pledges by the end of this year; to date, over $80,000 has been raised.
SVUUS seeks $24,000 or 20% of the project’s costs from local foundations and philanthropists who share SVUUS’ dream of a vibrant community without barriers to participation.
The Project has secured a major, cash gift from an anonymous member-donor, as well as numerous “seed money” gifts, and a bridging loan. Together, these ensure that the project can begin construction immediately, while grant proposals are executed and the capital campaign pursued. For a copy of the SVUUS IRS Determination Letter, financial statements and a more complete list of potential and committed donors, please contact D. D. Hilke.
All funds for the project are projected to be pledged by the end of this year, 2008.
The Welcoming Building Project is led by a team of talented volunteers and professionals committed to full access and participation by all.
Board of Trustees, South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society (Volunteers):
- Susan Eyzaguirre of Salt Lake City – Board Co-Chair and Capital Campaign Liaison;
- David Lane of Sandy – SVUUS Treasurer and Welcoming Building Construction Liaison.
Chair, Welcoming Building Project and Campaign (Volunteer): D. D. Hilke of Salt Lake City– Experienced executive, fundraiser and project manager who oversaw the visioning, funding, and implementation of Discovery Gateway in Salt Lake City.
Design and Construction
Owner’s Representatives (Volunteers): Altaf Rahman of Salt Lake City – Engineer (retired); Lynn Deal of Sandy – Contractor (retired)
Construction Design: Buona Vita Design Group, Inc., 6364 South Highland Drive
Suite 202, Murray, UT 84121 – A local firm with proven excellence in new construction and building remodels.
General Contractor: Brady Bradshaw Construction, 1113 W. Chapel Ridge Dr., South Jordan, UT 84095 – Local firm experienced in commercial and residential projects up to 40,000 sq. ft.
Elevator Supply/Install: Carson Elevator, 8496 S. Harrison St., #106, Midvale, UT 84047 – Local, non-proprietary elevator firm, serving residential and commercial needs of the Intermountain region since 1983.
Capital Campaign (Volunteer Co-Chairs): D. D. Hilke of Salt Lake City – Experienced executive, fundraiser and project manager; Pam Murray of Salt Lake City – Certified research administrator.
For additional information, please contact: D. D. Hilke, Welcoming Building Project and Campaign, 6876 South Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84121.
Our Invitation and Request to The … Foundation:
We invite The … Foundation to join us in creating a community resource that supports everyone of every ability, as they participate in the humanitarian, educational, artistic and cultural activities hosted in our South Valley facility.
South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society is requesting a grant in the amount of $12,000 from The … Foundation – support equal to 10% of the project’s cost and costing less than $.07 per person impacted over the next five years.
More about South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society:
Our Mission: South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society is an intentionally diverse religious community with a mission to celebrate religious freedom, nurture curiosity and learning, and work toward a more just, compassionate, and sustainable world.
From our Bylaws: The Society is a fellowship of free minds in the study and practice of liberal religion, the development of the human potential of its participants, and the building of a better local and world community. All people who share the purpose and spirit of this Society are welcome as members regardless of race, color, creed, sexual preference or national origin. Like most Unitarian Universalist congregations, South Valley UU Society is a spiritually diverse community. Our members identify themselves as Jewish, Humanist, Taoist, Christian, Pagan, Atheist, Deist, Monotheist, Agnostic, and "none of the above." In general, though, we believe that there is no single religious truth and that life is a spiritual journey best experienced with others. We also strive to be ethnically and sexually diverse, and we welcome those of any ethnicity or sexual orientation.