Kitchen Renovation FAQs

Why do we need a kitchen renovation?
To continue and expand our mission to live as a vibrant, Christ-centered community, witnessing God’s love for all people through worship, education, stewardship, outreach and pastoral care.

When did we last renovate the kitchen?
1987. The renovation was mainly cosmetic, focused on building new cabinets to provide better storage, but it did not address the electrical and plumbing issues facing us today.

What is wrong with the kitchen?
The plumbing is inadequate – we can’t run the dishwasher and run water in the sink at the same time! We can’t sanitize dishes, our stove does not work properly, our fridge is old and our freezer inadequate. We don’t have enough storage.

Why don’t we just fix the plumbing and get new appliances?
To fix the plumbing will require us to take up the floor. The heating of food in our kitchen is often difficult due to our limited electrical system and a reliance on crock pots. The current plumbing and electrical infrastructure cannot support new appliances. All this argues for a complete renovation.

What are we doing with our existing kitchen?

  • Dinner and simple breakfast for the Hypothermia project
  • Family dinners
  • Taco dinner from the youth group
  • Pancake supper from the Vestry
  • Bazaar Café
  • Receptions for funerals
  • Poe feeding program (storage and pick up of supplies and food)
  • Soup and salad for Lenten program
  • Picnic (only used for cold storage before moving to Rectory grounds)
  • Oktoberfest
  • Staging coffee hour

What more could we be doing once our space is renovated?

  • We could prepare the food for the Poe feeding project in house.
  • We could offer community dinners for the disadvantaged.
  • We could market our facility for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and other celebrations.
  • We could increase the number of rentals because we would be a better choice than nearby competitors, and we could charge more if we had a functional kitchen.
  • We could prepare both a hot dinner and hot breakfast for the Hypothermia project.
  • Family dinners would not have to be catered, which would reduce the cost and create an opportunity for parishioners to work together.
  • We could offer hot items for funeral receptions.
  • The school could prepare meals for the students.
  • We could purchase food items in bulk and on sale if we had appropriate storage.
  • We could reduce or eliminate the use of paper and plastic serving ware.
  • We could hold dinner fundraisers, similar to the Our Little Roses fundraiser we used to do.

Why do we need to renovate the bathrooms?
The current bathrooms do not meet County codes, and are inconveniently small. To install plumbing on the common wall with the kitchen requires us to tear down the adjacent wall. Once we work on the plumbing, we are required to upgrade code-compliant bathrooms.

Why do we need a shower and washer and dryer?
Laundering kitchen linens at church is more convenient than taking them home. We can also launder altar linens. A shower would allow us to better serve hypothermia guests, and to host youth groups visiting the area in the summer.

Why do we need County approval for our renovation?
We need County approval to legally serve food for public consumption. Currently, we prepare food in homes for public consumption, which requires an event license and clearly visible signs stating that the food was prepared in private homes.

What does the County require?
Fairfax County sets many requirements for the purpose of safeguarding public health and ensuring that food is safe, unadulterated and properly presented when offered to the consumer. These include requirements for equipment, appliances, construction materials, food preparation, hygiene, and cleaning.

Could our current kitchen comply with County requirements?
Unfortunately, no.

What is the likely cost of the project?
Based on current construction costs and budgeting for contingencies, we can expect to pay about $850,000.

Why does it cost this much?
We live in an area with high labor costs. Construction materials have increased at a rate greater than inflation due to reconstruction after Hurricanes and Wildfires, as well as new tariffs and threats of tariffs.

Where will the money come from?
We need a Capital Campaign to raise funds. We can borrow money to bridge the period of time it takes for people to fulfill their pledges. We can apply for a grant from the Diocese, but even if awarded, this would only cover a small portion of the budget

How much do we charge now for events in the Parish Hall?
Parishioners may use the facilities without charge. Outside groups pay $200/hr.

How much do our nearby competitors charge?
There are not many nearby competitors, and size and amenities vary greatly. Charges range from $110 for a much smaller facility than we have, to $400 per hour, and some charge extra for use of the kitchen.

When was our last Capital Campaign?
The last Capital Campaign was begun in 2002. The fundraising goal was $1,879,400.

How much money did we raise?
$992,461. We also received a $50,000 Mustard Seed grant.

Wow! That was not nearly enough to complete our planned improvements. What did we do then?
We were not able to resurface the parking lot, and some of the other work had to be scaled back. We also borrowed money.

How much did we borrow, and for how long?
We borrowed $479,710 on April 9, 2009. It took us approximately 4 years to repay.

How did we raise money to repay the loan?
We held a “Debt Free in Three” fundraising campaign in 2009 and 2010. We used the money as it came in to pay down the loan, and we have been debt free since May 16, 2013.

What was the total amount spent on the last renovation?
$1.5 million.

When do you think the renovation can take place?
With a robust response to the Capital Campaign, and timely application for bridge loans, we could start as early as Winter 2020.

How long will the kitchen be out of service?
3-4 months.

Will activities in the parish hall have to be suspended or moved?
Most activities can take place in the parish hall during construction, provided that food preparation and staging does not have to be done in the kitchen.

How far into the future will the new kitchen meet St. Alban’s needs?
Our architect estimates a new kitchen, with proper maintenance, repair and replacement of nonworking equipment, will last 40 – 50 years.