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Feedback from the Building Survey

Thank you to the 159 people who took time to fill out the St Hilary’s Building Project Survey in August/September. Many participants provided detailed feedback as well as grading the different responses. The overall message from the feedback was one of enthusiastic support, with a few caveats. Below you will find a summary of the survey, an overview of the next steps and an estimated cost of the two building projects. For those who want more detail, there is a more fulsome survey report including graphs and more specific feedback at the end.

Summary of Survey responses

Over 70% of church members participating in the survey ticked 4 or 5 to the question How well do you feel that the building concepts fit with the St Hilary’s Network vision and mission? Some of the comments made clear that buildings do not enact vision and mission, people do. However, it was acknowledged that buildings can facilitate the work of the faith community.

The overall design concepts of our architect, Peter Elliott, won the approval of close to 90% of responders – a great endorsement. More than 75% scored either 4 or 5 to the question “How did the concepts match your expectations of how we can improve our buildings?” More than 80% believed the concept designs met the brief. A few responders were not familiar with the brief, which came directly from the listening and consultation phase that was undertaken last year. More than 80% gave a ringing endorsement to the modified church concept, and the vast majority of those surveyed expressed excitement for the concepts.

There were a few comments suggesting that the Church should sell the vicarage and/or Saunders House to cover the cost of the redevelopment. The Church Board felt it was important that church members understood that those houses are owned by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne and therefore more than 50% of the sales proceeds would be shared across the wider church and would not be contributing to the development at all. Instead, we would be losing the use of these properties and whatever complications that might introduce.

There was some anxiety about whether the building project is achievable. While the majority committed to financially contributing to the project, more than a quarter were ambivalent and a few were unwilling to commit. And not surprisingly the most controversial question in the survey related to the Early Learning Centre. A quarter of those surveyed love the idea. A quarter are keen to see the business case, a quarter are very unsure, and the rest are torn between very unsure or no way.

Next steps

We now want to test the waters with the City of Boroondara. Peter Elliott will prepare a town planning application which we hope to lodge early next year. The Council is only interested in big picture plans at this stage, not the detail, so we do not need to be worrying about the position and size of the kitchen, where the church reception is or whether there is enough play area for Sunday Club.

Estimated Financial Commitment

The Church Board is working on the following figures:

  • $7million for the St Hilary’s redevelopment (not including an Early Learning Centre)
  • $2.5 million for St Silas’ redevelopment
  • 10% contingencies
  • 10% mission partners

A funding the Vision Task Group has been established and they will be launching the funding program next year.

The very last section of the survey asked people for general feedback for the Property Task Group. This was an optional section in which 76 people provided specific and positive comments.

  • “Love what you guys are doing”
  • “Thanks for the thorough and positive way you have served us”
  • “Well done. You seem to have listened and understood the mood and desires of the congregation this time”
  • “Thank you for prayerfully considering and dreaming up the proposed changes. Really appreciate the community engagement and the thought that has gone into these designs”
  • “I’m glad that we stopped the process and entered a time of listening. I think the engagement this time around is much better”
  • “Super pumped for this! Praying for God’s direction and protection of your team”
  • “Thank you”

Stuart Marsland
Chair of St Hilary’s Property Task Group

Appendix: St Hil’s Building Project Survey

How to read the graphs:
These graphs were generated from the responses to the “St Hil’s Building Project Survey.” For each question, the participants were asked to select along a scale form 1 to 5 based on where they felt their response lay between two keywords (the words and the scale are represented along the bottom (x-axis)). On the left hand side (y-axis), you’ll see a percentage (%) number that represents the percentage of people that selected that option as their response to the question.

How would you rate the overall concepts?
159 responses

Comments (54) A selection:

  • Clear and compelling
  • It thoughtfully incorporates the old and new
  • Size and scale much more in keeping with the reality of the site and congregational desires
  • Loved it! Practical, flows through spaces and revenue generating.
  • Raises more questions than provides answers.
  • My concern is that there is more emphasis in the proposal on buildings at St Hilary’s than on our mission and outreach.
  • Great that the street frontage doesn’t change much, great that ELC is a part of the plan, good that the church and hall stay mostly the same.
  • It was good to hear an outsider’s view, and his ideas did not seem too radical
  • Liked the unifying. The property is very bitsy and could be improved.
  • Good combination of functionality and use of space.

How did the concepts match your expectations of how we can improve our buildings?
159 responses

Comments (33) Excerpt:

  • Exceeded my expectations as it provided a clear and achievable way forward while making good use of existing facilities
  • Very much in favour of improving interface with courtyard, better meeting areas
  • The concepts showed the plans to keep certain aspects of the site that are still working well but improving the areas that are not working well for us
  • Widening the church is a good idea, using the space behind the hall stage is also a good idea
  • Love the connectedness of the ideas
  • Better than I thought an old building could look, be utilised and changed for future/more modern use
  • It’s looking great at this stage, looking forward to hearing more details as it moves along in the process, and seeing a rough timeline.

How excited are you about these concepts?
159 responses

Comments (30)

  • This design, I CAN get excited about
  • They make sense, they seem much more realistic to achieve than the proposed plans from last year, and they seem to meet the needs we have as a church community
  • It has restored my confidence in the whole process. Peter is a good find!
  • We need to do a big improvement. I’m excited.
  • I’d be excited for any improvements to the site
  • Concepts are fine, but where is the money coming from?
  • Only the best for God, not a half effort

How achievable do you think the building project is?
159 responses

Comments (49)

  • I think it is much more achievable than the initial massive redevelopment. I think Peter has tuned into the feasibility of the suburban site well
  • It will depend on whether people are prepared to put their wallets on the table
  • Money is tight so need to ensure overall cost is not excessive, if this is done it is achievable especially if done in stages
  • People need to get on board. We can spend thousands doing home renos when we could and should be investing here
  • Depends a bit on costing, but otherwise very achievable
  • Anything is achievable for a cost – so what’s the cost?
  • If done in stages
  • If there is unity and a belief that it is in keeping with God’s plan for the place then it is definitely achievable
  • The challenge with be town planning approval, but God can intervene

How satisfied are you that the concept designs meet the brief?
159 responses

Comments (24)

  • I really appreciate the time that has gone to hearing community feedback and ideas prior to the design – I think the community feels listened to and more involved than previously
  • Some tidying up is still required regarding the pillars and disabled access, but the concept was well received
  • Never knew what the brief was as the congregations were never advised
  • Great to see how the church and courtyard are kept and integrated; would like to know more about sustainability in the designs
  • I am concerned about the placement of the kitchen in terms of flow of people around it, for large events. Investigation of time/motion/numbers would be useful
  • Took on people’s feedback very well

How well do you feel that these concepts fit with the St Hilary’s Network vision and mission?
159 responses

Comments (32)

  • The open item is still how we alight the site and facilities to be a community hub. Specifi event/group features such as BBQ, coffee cart, Tom’s shed, food drive collection access were all raised across various groups
  • Will resonate with today’s younger people
  • I find it difficult to marry the two
  • I didn’t know an ELC was part of the vision
  • Partially, although the Network vision and mission really talks about multiple churches and not a bigger central church. However, I do appreciate the existing site needs work done on it.
  • It will make the church more accessible to the outside public and much easier to navigate the site
  • Will play a part in providing a place where discipleship and gospel proclamation can come. Important to remember that Jesus is the cornerstone
  • Kids ministry is supposed to be a priority but it doesn’t provide for this with adequate outdoor spaces
  • Love the ELC
  • Not so sure about the ELC

Based on last year’s community engagement, the community wants the church building to stay. How well do you feel the modified church concept meets this requirement?
159 responses

Comments (39)

  • A lovely way of enhancing the existing space
  • The extension to the church is amazing
  • My only main concern is the stained glass
  • Love the new modified Church building idea. It retains the sense of a spiritual place and spiritual history whilst allowing for modernisation and better use of space
  • I would never have thought of just widening the church. Brilliant. Mind you I am not none of those who is particularly fussed about the church building
  • I think expanding the walls is a good option, perhaps the windows could be retained in the new walls to keep more of the existing feel of the building
  • Not so fussed about whether the building stays
  • Actually really liked the old vs new blance
  • Well done to all

Assuming the buisness case makes sense, do you see value in the church considering an Early Learning Centre?
159 responses

Comments (63)

  • No an ELC is not central to our mission.
  • Would need a lot more detail.
  • From other churches I have heard it is very hard to interface with these families.
  • Brings in an income stream, interfaces with the community, a model I grew up with in my family church, so very comfortable with it
  • It does make sense, and I can see there would be an opportunity that comes from it
  • This was the aspect I was most surprised by. As it was the first I’d heard of it, I’m uncertain what the rationale and value is
  • The business case needs to thoroughly consider the ability of the church to run such a facility given the regulatory environment that exists and not just consider the financial viability or outreach potential
  • This is the first I have heard of it and I am quite surprised. It is not our core business, it is very bureaucratic to run, quite staff intensive and I believe this area is currently well served by many other ELCs.
  • I would want clarification on whether the play space made available to the ELC is available to the church for play space. There is currently a feeling that there is inadequate outdoor recreational space for kids/teens.
  • Wonderful outreach opportunity as well as a revenue stream

How likely are you to financially contribute to this building project?
159 responses

Comments (35)

  • Already on board
  • Happy to play my part
  • I will, but have limited funds at this stage
  • Retired thus our funds are not being replenished
  • Would love to within our financial constraints
  • I don’t earn a lot, but I’ll be contributing

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