First Baptist Church of South Londonderry has been rebuilding after their previous building was destroyed by a fire in August of 2010. With the help of a matching gift donation, they are making the final push to finish the building project and start using the building. When the members of the church prepared to rebuild, they wanted to have a building that they could share with the community. What they did not realize was that it would take a community to rebuild the church building. Over the last seven years, many people, organizations, and companies have volunteered time and materials to make the building a reality.
The first two years were mostly spent in determining how to move forward, dealing with their insurance company, cleaning up the site, finding a place to meet, and making plans for a new building. They want to thank the Town of Londonderry for providing a space to meet, as well as Daniel Pratt of Robert Carl Williams Associates for getting involved early on in helping with their insurance claim and going on to design the whole church building.
The next two years were spent on purchasing the adjoining property. This land was needed for a new driveway, to meet setback requirements, for added parking spaces, for drainage, and to get their final permits approved by the Town and State. They acquired the land in the summer of 2013. That fall the land was cleared, the house was taken down, and the hill (over 6,500 yards of fill) was removed. At this time they want to give credit to a few people and companies that not only made this possible, but have continued helping with untold amounts of donated work and materials to make building our church a reality. First and foremost, Raymond Smith Excavating tore down the house, put in the driveway, built the retaining walls, dug the foundation, dug the drainage, donated materials, and trucked materials out. Scott Howe of Big Rock Gravel removed the fill, as well as donated stone and surpac. Cobb Lumber cleared trees, did site work, as well as donated large stones, gravel, and top soil. And finally Jeremy Brodney of Brodney Enterprises did all of the engineering and surveying for the church building as well as the layout for the water storage tanks, drainage, and handicap access to the building. First Baptist Church is thankful for everyone who helped in the beginning stages of building.
Bids for construction of the building went out in the spring of 2014. First Baptist Church awarded the contract to Russell Construction Services of Rutland on June 15th, with work starting immediately. They want to thank John Russell for saving them tens of thousands of dollars in value engineering, for their guidance, and for their quality of construction. First Baptist Church knew that they didn’t have all of the money needed to complete the project, but they decided to move forward completing what they could afford. Russell Construction completed the whole exterior of the building and framing of the interior. Their work was completed by October of 2015, though Russell Construction has continued to make themselves available for advice. During the construction of the exterior, Doug Friant of Vermont Timber Works provided the timber frame entrance and interior timbers way below cost. Doug even delivered the timbers, supervised, and assisted us in putting them up.
The First Baptist Church then took on the task of completing the building without a general contractor, using as much volunteer labor and materials as possible and fundraising for the rest of the money needed. By finishing the building on their own, their goal was to be the best stewards of the funds they had left and the funds they were to raise.
The church took breaks over the winter months of 2015 and 2016, since the building was not heated. In the spring of 2016, Dustin Washburn of Southern Vermont Sprinkler Services was hired to put in the required sprinkler system. Frost Well Drilling put in the pump, expansion tank, and water softener. At this time, they hired Gary Barton and Taylor Barton of Barton Electric to do the electrical work, and they too have saved the church thousands of dollars and is working with Efficiency Vermont to get rebates. A lot of volunteer labor was used in the summer of 2016 including organizations and churches outside of the local community. SERVE, a group of youth and adults who come every summer from Hope Community Church in King of Prussia, PA, has done lots of projects over the years including painting, installing a deck, doing cleanup, and working on landscaping. Another group of men from Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington, KY came and closed in their porch ceilings, built a deck and stairs, and installed interior timber frame. First Baptist Church is thankful for all of their hard work.
By the fall of 2016 fundraising efforts and grants came together, and they had the funds to move forward. They awarded the plumbing and heating contract to M&M Plumbing & Heating. They also came in and saved the church thousands of dollars in value engineering. They got the boilers in and working in December, and they had radiant heat in the basement floor for the winter. Jeff Duda of Blue Flame Gas donated his labor in hooking up propane lines in the building. Jerrid Smith and Dale Griswald installed the propane tank and lines at no cost.
They hired Builders Installed Products to insulate the building, Green Mountain Drywall to do the sheet rocking, Bennington House of Tile and Carpet to help out with some of the flooring, Tile Slate Marble to tile the flooring in the entryways, and First Line Security to install their fire alarm system. They also hired Forbes Construction to do the window trim on their stained glass windows and chair rails. Many of these companies have given discounts, and the church is grateful.
Mark Wright, of Rugg Valley Landscaping, installed the plantings outside of their building. He donated 15 evergreen plants and 15 lilac shrubs, as well as all the work and supplies including compost, grass, and mulch. Barry Pearson Jr. of Shine Hill Painting helped out by painting the sanctuary at no cost. Payne Junker repaired their weathervane at a reduced cost. Others who have helped include David Stevens, Michel La Liberté, Wayne Blackey, Bruce Thomas, and Mark Miller. They would also like to give a special thanks to Larry Prouty who has been working at a reduced cost by using his carpenter skills to get the building finished.
They also want to thank church members and friends of the church for all of the work that they have done this past summer and fall. Every Saturday morning, as well as other times throughout the week, many people have been working on projects. While there is not enough space and time to mention the names of all who have helped us out with advise, labor and materials, First Baptist Church appreciates all the time and effort that they have put into the building.
First Baptist Church is hoping to start using the building for services in the very near future. They would like to thank everyone who has put the time and effort into making this building possible.
First Baptist Church could not have rebuilt without the donations from those in the community and beyond, and they will print at a later date a list of those who have donated money.
First Baptist Church is nearing the end of raising funds for their building for the added expense of meeting current commercial building codes. Donations towards the rebuilding project can be made online at their website below or mailed to First Baptist Church (PO Box 278 South Londonderry, VT 05155) with “building fund” in the memo. For more information about the building including a video tour, take a look at their website: firstbaptistlondonderryvt.org or call 802-856-7266.