Capital Campaign Possibilities, December 2017

As you read, please note you can click on most images and boxes to get a slightly larger version!


The Process, So Far

One year ago, St. Dunstan’s began a process of discernment about a possible capital campaign to raise funds to improve our buildings and grounds. Through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and work with our architects and capital campaign consultant, we have developed a vision for our how our buildings could better meet our needs.

Existing Needs

The needs that led us to begin thinking about a capital campaign were matters of repair and renewal, like shabby chairs, stained carpets, a scarred floor, and weather-worn parking lot. The Meeting Room has challenging acoustics and inadequate storage; the sliding glass doors of the nave are difficult to open.  Addressing these and other issues would add beauty and functionality to our building.

Emerging Needs 

As the congregation began to talk together about a possible capital campaign, one core need was named again and again: More space! Our kitchen is cramped, and our Gathering Area doesn’t allow  seated conversation at coffee hour.  The main floor bathrooms are too small for wheelchair access. Limited storage makes it difficult to keep things tidy and organized.  And as we grow, we encounter new space needs – most notably, our packed Sunday school classrooms. In addition to more bodies, we also hold more meetings and events, which leads to frequent overbooking of our meeting spaces.  A member of our Discernment Team who analyzed the results of our Wondering Conversations remarked, “You could sum this up by just writing SPACE on a piece of paper!”

Two Approaches: Expansion and Renewal

To address these needs, we have developed two different approaches at different levels of financial commitment:  Expansion and Renewal.  We believe that either of these paths would address our parish’s needs and help St. Dunstan’s become even more, in the words of one member, “a powerful, hopeful place… to be equipped to carry out good work.”


A computer drawing of what the back of the church would look like, if we were to follow the Expansion building plan.

The Expansion option involves making our main building significantly larger, by pushing the east (back) wall and south wall outwards. This would result in a close to 80% increase in square footage across all our frequently-used spaces, like the kitchen, Gathering Area, meeting room, sacristy, and classrooms.

The expansion includes three large classrooms with external windows, storage rooms on both levels, and a large youth room. This floor plan would accommodate us well and give us room for continued growth.  Enhanced access to our beautiful grounds would be created via double doors from the Gathering Area out to a paved patio area, ideal for small outdoor liturgies or for expanding coffee hour outdoors in good weather.  As part of this approach, we could add an elevator that would join all three levels of the building – from the choir loft down to the lower-level offices and classrooms. This would enhance participation opportunities for people with mobility challenges.

Main Level: Expanded Gathering & Meeting Spaces

Draft floor plan of main level, with Expansion approach. The fine dotted diagonal line is the current back wall of the building.

Lower Level: More & Larger Classrooms, Storage Space

One of our cramped classrooms, in use.


In the Renewal approach, we would address the constraints of our space through renovation and reorganization. In our main building, the kitchen and main floor bathrooms would be gutted and rebuilt to make the most of the available space. The two smallest downstairs classrooms would be combined to make one larger room. This plan also includes enhanced access to the grounds by way of a paved patio outside the Gathering Area, making it easy for worship or fellowship to overflow to the outdoors.  We would also replace some existing furniture with furniture that better fits our spaces and our needs.

Nave Seating & Flexible Use of Existing Space

One desire people often mention is a room big enough for a large gathering. In fact, we already have a large room – our nave (sanctuary). However, our chairs are difficult to move and take up a lot of space even when stacked. In the Renewal approach, we would claim the nave as flexible space by replacing the chairs with portable pews, which are easy to move and stack, so that we can quickly re-configure the nave from worship to a shared meal, coffee hour, or open space.  (Pews would also be an option with the Expansion approach. Pews are the more expensive seating option, compared to replacing our chairs with newer chairs.)

Portable pews at a church in London.

Diagram showing portable pews stacked to clear the room, perhaps for a dance or movement class; and arranged for a concert.

Renovating the Parish Center 

Another key element of the Renewal approach would be renovating the Parish Center – the building at the end of our parking lot – and re-integrating it into our  parish life.  The building is structurally sound but needs a complete renovation. Work would include opening up the lower level to eliminate a cramped hallway, replacing the 60-year-old kitchen, updating lighting and finishes, and adding a bathroom upstairs to improve comfort and usability.

Architect’s sketch of proposed renovation of the lower level of the Parish Center, to create more usable and pleasant space.



There are some projects that we expect to address, as part of either the Expansion or Renewal approach – these are the Key Elements, listed in the box below. In addition, there are some add-on projects that we could undertake if congregational support is strong. Those are listed in the Additional Possibilities box.


During our parish discernment, members have stated loudly and clearly that whatever we do should also serve our neighbors, in response to Jesus’ call.  We will be better able to host community programs, with more flexible and usable spaces. We also plan to consider committing a percentage of the funds we raise to the community beyond ourselves, to develop a new outreach project to meet real local needs. The percentage and the project are yet to be determined; watch for meetings early in 2018.

6205 University Ave., Madison WI