We hope we can finally see the finish line on the completion of our campus. Here are the details:
1. The road to Will Clayton Parkway is not going to happen. We have run into our first major obstacle and disappointment in four major construction projects. It turns out Harris County does not own Will Clayton Parkway starting from West Lake Houston Pkwy and into The Bridges subdivision…The Bridges built it at their own expense and they own it. They fully intend to gift it to Harris County. Why would they do that? So they could determine exactly where the parkway would go. And where it would go would be inches away from the neighboring property lines so that The Bridges owns a few inches of land between every neighbor and Will Clayton Pkwy, thus blocking every neighbor from having an entrance to Will Clayton. That includes NEHBC. We have explored every option, including a face-to-face meeting with our Harris County Commissioner and his Senior Director of Infrastructure. Checkmate. Brilliant move by The Bridges; really unfortunate for NEHBC. Harris County has agreed to talk with us about rearranging our north exit onto West Lake Houston Pkwy to line up with the median cut so that we will have to exits onto West Lake Houston Pkwy with direct left/southbound turns.
2. The baptismal plaza: All the concrete is poured. The decorative stone and paving is about to go up and the water treatment system installed. Then we just have to smooth out the dirt work and grass it. We expect this to be done by Christmas.
3. The parking lot: The South side of the old parking lot has its new asphalt surface and has been re-striped. Now we can do the same to the North side of the old parking lot (a three day project) and the parking lot work will be finished.
4. The drainage system: After a long and drawn out process with the county, we have some minor adjustments to make and all will be set. You may recall that this past summer I explained to our congregation that the county permit line was long and the county had agreed to an informal go-ahead for us to start our project without official paperwork in place. It was gracious of the head office decision makers to do this for us. It was not a user friendly process out in the field. Field level inspectors like signed paperwork, not backdoor handshakes, winks, nods, and “your boss’ boss said we could” permissions. We are thankful for the field inspectors’ patience and working with us.
5. The rain canopies: They are currently being installed. The East end/rear building canopy is not a pull through cover, but a pull alongside cover. This is because a pull through would have required an entire traffic lane and would have stripped us of all the parking spots along the rear of our building. We will need those parking spots! The pull alongside cover only cost us three parking spots.
7. The big field: The rain has really killed us on this piece of the project. The drainage system is in, we just need the rest of the field dug out, the dirt rearranged to look good, and the whole thing grassed. It is going to be great when it is finished. We expect this piece to through January, but the rest of the project should wrap up this month, December.
8. The outdoor storage area: This little gravel road is off the rear of our building and leads to a hidden cut out where we will put the big outdoor storage container(s), the white van, the big cook trailers, etc. The rest of the gravel will be poured and then everything will be moved to its new hidden spot so the north side of our parking lot can look respectable.
9. The budget: All is well on the finance end of things. The project is being done on budget. Bill Campbell has kept us on the straight and narrow, just as he did on the other three construction phases, no easy feat. (Little known fact: when we hired Mr. Campbell in 2006, we did so in part with the building of our campus in mind. In his prior life, he was with LyondellBasell Industries for thirty years, and was part of building oil refineries. When he oversees a major construction project, it will be built well, on budget, and safely. He has certainly proven to be God’s provision for us.)