Sacred Space Team News-Kathy Wheeler, -Chair, SST

Updated: Apr 9

Kathy Wheeler & John Ivy met with Brian and Veronica about the property on Jan 10. Takeaway info: Two core samples from the parking area and two core samples from the area of the foundation will be analyzed to find out the soil makeup as it relates to foundation construction and parking lot construction. Veronica, the civil engineer, gave us one point that was new to us: if the property’s soil has a large percentage of clay, a porous parking area would not allow water to seep into the soil below; it would instead leave the rainwater to flow under the porous parking by gravitation to the back of the lot. This would not accomplish the goal of decreasing runoff. She said if clay were a problem in this area, a cistern to collect rain water from our building’s roof, would give us in the long term, a bigger bang for the buck. She mentioned the voting place in south College Station (CS Utilities & Training Facility; 1603 Graham Rd; CS as a place to see a cistern. (A cistern could collect rain water from our building and store it to be used in a sprinkler system.) The cistern is to the left as you face the above described building in which voting is done; the building is to the left off (I believe) the first left turn from the entrance driveway. We will await the report of the core sampling.


On Sunday Jan 12, Ken Appelt, John Ivy, Rev Donna Renfro, and I went out to the 1719 property to tie red tape around trees we wanted to keep. Included were 3 small oak trees eligible for transplanting. Some trees/ bushes had white tape to mark them for removal. John Ivy & Ken volunteered to be present (we hope the date and time works for either one or both of them) for the tree survey to be able to consult with the surveyors about our intent. We discussed the location of the Sanctuary with special regard to the location of and the view from the picturesque window. We discussed options to locate the building slightly to improve the view by sacrificing one stand of trees for another.

I contacted Brian about our discussion about the view from the Sanctuary window. He asked to meet at the property which Ken & I did Tuesday Jan 14 at 5 pm. Brian suggested that the view from the Sanctuary would be much improved by removing the large cedar tree adjacent to the far end of the building site (from 29th St) and moving the angle and footprint of the building slightly. While this was not what we had talked about Sunday, it made sense. For one thing, the view, as illustrated by Brian’s photos, was much improved. Another thing we had not considered was that cedar trees have higher oil content than most trees and are highly flammable. We do not want the cedars butting up right next to the building for safety’s sake. The playground area would be increased with this change and the cedar trees closer to 29th street would be saved. We cannot build a church here without removing a limited number of trees. There is still room for a Memorial Garden, a labyrinth, and for a meditation area, etc. The SST voted unanimously to follow Brian’s suggestion for location of the church. We have concerns about fire and wind storms causing collateral damage due to the proximity to the trees. An email from Brian gave the following information: “Regarding trees, once the tree survey is complete, we’ll have a better idea of how many trees will be close to the building…and how close. While trees relatively close to the building can be a fire hazard, they can also be beneficial. We can discuss strategies to mitigate (but not remove) risk, such as making sure the trees around the building are watered regularly by the irrigation system, taking into account the fire-resistance of the building sheathing and cladding in the areas close to the trees, and having a sprinkler system (and lightning protection system) in the building.”



Also discussed were: Walking areas, recreational areas, liability concerns, fencing, security, & other concerns. Decision: Contact our church insurance company for guidance.

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Meet Our Minister

The Rev. Christian Schmidt is our interim minister, and first became a Unitarian Universalist in this congregation where he was an active member from 2006-2009. He has since served congregations in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California. His interests include his family (including four little boys he and his wife are raising), sports, and theology.


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