What is New Roads?
New Roads is an ambitious project to renew Knox Presbyterian Church—a cornerstone of the Oakville community for more than 185 years. It’s an opportunity for us to come alongside God and together build a facility that’s not only practical, but fully accessible to the congregation and to the broader community. The project will allow us to better reach beyond our doors and serve more people in mission and community service than ever before.
Every renovation has a clear purpose and every change comes with a story. By upgrading Knox’s facilities to make them more accessible, beautiful, and hospitable, we will ensure that all families view the church as a place they want to be a part of, and where they can grow in their faith.
In embarking on the New Roads project, we seek explore new avenues for Knox and the town of Oakville while leaving a lasting legacy for the generations yet to come.
As it says in Proverbs 16:9: “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” Let’s take those steps together.
What Does New Roads Entail?
New Roads is a nearly $5 million facility upgrade, and is broken into three main phases. This approach allows us to continue to use one portion of the building for our missions and ministries while another portion is undergoing construction. Here’s a run-down on each phase of the project.
Phase One: Lower Level
In the past, Knox had had two halls (one on the upper level and one on the lower level) which provided the congregation and community with ample space for events, children’s activities, dinners, dances, fundraisers and more. Several years ago, the lower hall was gutted. This has severely limited the space we have available to serve God and the Oakville community.
Other aspects of our building also act as stumbling blocks. Stairs make it hard if not impossible for people with physical limitations to reach the lower level of the church. This includes children whose physical disabilities might prevent them from taking part in activities in the Christian education rooms downstairs.
A lack of air conditioning makes the building uncomfortable for everyone in the hot summer months, but it’s potentially dangerous for the very old and very young who are more sensitive to extreme temperatures. We know there are people who don’t attend worship during the summer because of the heat.
Limited washrooms are another aggravation for our congregation, but the problem extends beyond lineups on Sunday mornings. With so few washrooms, our building is inadequate for many community groups, and unsuited for large concerts and other cultural events that would be assets to our community.
The first phase of the New Roads project will address these issues, but that’s not all. It also includes measures to help protect our heritage building.
Phase One: The Plan
Phase One of the New Roads project will focus mostly (but not entirely) on the lower level of the building. Improvements will include:
- Air conditioning for the entire building, including the sanctuary.
- The restoration of the lower hall (called Nicholl Hall) to be used for church, family and community gatherings and mission or outreach projects.
- The construction of a servery for Nicoll Hall. This will allow us to host larger functions in both the upper and lower halls simultaneously. The servery will also provide additional food prep space for children’s programs.
- Ten new gender neutral washrooms, including a barrier-free washroom, and a shower.
- The initial construction of an elevator shaft to make both the upper and lower floors accessible to everyone regardless of physical ability.
- A washer and dryer.
- A new fire suppression system for the building.
- Significant electrical, plumbing and mechanical work in support of the lower and main levels.
Estimated cost of Phase One: $1,674,100
Phase Two: Main Level
Knox Oakville is well known for its hospitality. Whether it’s our willingness to open our doors for downtown community events, giving out free hotdogs, hosting Dinner Church each week, or putting on exceptional receptions after funeral services, our church members always go above and beyond to ensure people feel loved—and well fed!
Yet the building’s small, dated kitchen makes it difficult for large teams of people to prepare food side-by-side. The main hall, where most events are hosted, is bland and unmemorable, and its acoustics make it a challenging space for musicians and speakers.
The layout of the main floor also poses challenges. The narrow main hallway causes congestion as people try to move past, visit the washrooms, or enter the hall. The glass door off Dunn St., which serves as the primary entrance on weekdays, is hard to see from high-traffic Lakeshore Rd. Visitors sometimes circle the building trying out doors until they discover the correct one to use.
We want to make our building as hospitable as the people who fill it. And it’s well overdue. The main floor of Knox has not been renovated or updated for over 50 years. It was last improved with a major addition in 1955.
Phase Two: The Plan
The second phase of the New Roads project will put the finishing touches on some of the work from Phase One, and will focus on improvements to several areas of the main level, making the space more practical, beautiful, and accessible. It will include:
- Installing an elevator to make Knox fully accessible to all members of the congregation and the community.
- Doubling the size and enhancing the functionality of the kitchen to make food preparation easier and more enjoyable, make it possible to have larger teams working side by side, and house missions like Out of the Cold. This will also have a huge impact on existing hospitality ministries like our weekly Dinner Church and monthly sandwich ministry for Evangel Hall.
- Adding additional washrooms on the main floor.
- Improving the traffic flow of the building while optimizing the usable space within the existing four walls by adding additional entranceways, relocating the minister’s and administrator’s offices, and creating a new, brighter stairwell to the lower floor lit by a skylight.
- Major aesthetic and acoustic renovations of the main church hall (called MacMillan Hall), including a beautiful fireplace and integrated high resolution screen. This will make it an in-demand space to host church, family, social, and community gatherings and events. Beautiful, sliding barn doors will also make it easier to enter the hall, and will ease congestion in the hallway outside.
- Relocating the church library will take advantage of the fireplace and offer a cosy space for reading or meetings.
- An upgraded fire panel will complete our new fire suppression system.
Phase Two will make our heritage building a more beautiful and hospitable place, full of promise for the community and the families who will call the church their home. We’ll become a community hub in the downtown, and a destination for meetings, social events, and concerts. And we’ll have created a church building that’s viable for the congregation now and for the generations to come.
Estimated cost of Phase Two: $1,990,200
Phase Three: Garden
We dream of a church that is available to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some of that dream is met by the Farrow Cloister and Memorial Garden located on the east side of the building. This garden provides the community with a beautiful space for quiet contemplation. But we think we can offer more.
Phase Three: The Plan
The final phase of New Roads will create a new community garden and sitting area on what is now the west lawn, and a fully accessible entranceway visible from both Dunn St. and Lakeshore Rd. This space will welcome people and families to Knox, and the bright entrance will usher them into the building.
The community garden will serve as an important link between the church and the broader Oakville community.
Estimated cost: $176,200
Total Estimated Cost of the New Roads Project:
- Phase One (Lower Level): $1,674,100
- Phase Two (Main Level): $1,990,200
- Phase Three (Garden): $176,200
- Total: $3,840,500
Contingency (15%): $576,075
(In case of cost overruns, troubleshooting issues, unforeseen problems, higher costs than originally planned due to the timing of phase execution, etc.)
Soft Costs (15%): $576,075
(For building permits, engineering/architect fees and blueprints, HST, furnishings, insurance, legal fees, hydro charges, etc.)
Grand Total: $4,992,650
The New Roads team imagines fundraising for each phase will take a year. We’d like to celebrate the completion of Phase One at the end of 2019, the completion of Phase Two at the end of 2020, and the opening of our community garden and the completion of the entire project at the end of 2021. But that timeline can be shortened if our community is generous with its gifts and pledges, or it can be lengthened if fundraising takes longer than anticipated.
Why Should I Support New Roads?
Knox is an active and vibrant part of the downtown Oakville community, as it has been for well over a century. This is our time, and we are privileged to be able to write our chapter in the ongoing saga of faith and life at Knox Oakville. The story doesn’t begin with us, and it doesn’t end with us.
By investing in New Roads, we seize the opportunity God has placed before us to make a space for a thriving congregation, a hub for the community, and a home for more missions, more hospitality, and more service than ever before.
It’s also an opportunity to honour those who have gone before, or to memorialize fond memories. The names of all donors will be engraved in a beautiful donor wall. By making a gift in memory of a loved one, or in honour of a marriage, baptism, or a childhood spent roaming the halls of this beautiful building, you will leave your mark on a place that has played a part in your life, in the life of someone you love, or in the life of the Oakville community.
We have so much to offer, both now and in the generations to come. We invite you to be a part of this investment in God’s Kingdom, made visible here on the corner of Lakeshore and Dunn.
How Can I Support New Roads?
It’s easy to support the project. You can donate one time or over a period of months or years.
Your gifts can be made to the New Roads project through:
- Cheque: Make cheques out to “Knox Oakville” with “New Roads” on the memo line.
- Pre-Authorized Debit: Monthly gifts can be made directly from your bank account through our PAD plan.
- Credit Card: Please visit our donation page to set up your donation through Canada Helps, our online gift processing service.
- Gifts of Publicly Traded Securities: 100% of your gift of securities will come to Knox Oakville to be used for New Roads or the purposes of your choice. Contact the church office to learn more.
How is Fundraising Going?
We want to say thank you so much to our church family for stepping up with incredible enthusiasm and generosity during the first year of the project. We exceeded our fundraising goals for 2018! Together we gave:
- $601,000 in cash
- $925,000 in pledges
- For a total of $1,526,000
Where Are We at in the Project?
Throughout the final months of 2017 and the early months of 2018, we launched into our initial Planning and Design Phase. Although this part of the project doesn’t seen as exciting as the construction phases will be, it’s absolutely vital. During this phase, our architect and a host of engineers have been working diligently on everything from floor plans to ceiling plans to ductwork to lighting to electrical loads. All the details need to be examined, and many, many drawings must be produced before we reach the point where we can prepare the final construction documents and get ready to break ground.
On May 6th, we were issued with a heritage permit. We’re now seeking permits from the town’s planning department. We’re getting closer and closer to having building permits. Exciting!
We’re so grateful for the interest and support we’ve received from the community so far. We hope you can see the value of this project not only to our church family, but to the downtown Oakville community. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting journey.
All illustrations courtesy of Farrow Partners.