Elevator Project Update

There is much for the whole community to celebrate at Calvary Center this holiday season!

Construction has finally started on the Calvary Center elevator!! A new ground level entrance will be constructed just to the right of the tower where wheelchairs can enter the building without having to negotiate ANY inclines or declines, thus eliminating the need for unsightly ramps on the side of the building. From an entrance vestibule, the elevator can take visitors up to the main floor, or down to the lower level, which will allow wheelchair access to all areas of the building except the auditorium balconies and the two board rooms on the upper level!! This has been a long time coming and has been an unaddressed need of all the building user groups from the inception of the center. The Center is thrilled that Linford Martin, member of WPMF and neighborhood resident and celebrated for what he has accomplished in the neighborhood with the development of the Firehouse and Cedarworks, is acting as contractor for the project. Our time lines indicate that the project will be completed by spring of 2016.

So that we could create a safer and more comfortable entrance vestibule, the original footprint of the elevator was moved further into the interior, which required taking space from the black box theater, so intrusive that it required removal of the bank of seating on the western side of the theater. This necessitated a redesign of the theater space, but since the Children’s Community School’s move to new larger quarters, it gave us the opportunity to redesign the entire lower level area behind the gymnasium/fellowship hall. We have been working on that design, which we hope to construct immediately after the completion of the elevator project. This redesign will work much better with the building’s heating system, allowing for much better circulation of the heat in the interior of the lower level.

Beyond that, Calvary Center is finally at the point where we can start on restoration of the most important art works in the building, the three story Tiffany windows and the stained glass dome in the main auditorium. We hope to in 2016 restore those stained glass masterpieces and to be able to light them at night properly, elevating the corner of 48th and Baltimore to its rightful place as one of the most beautifully preserved Victorian crossroads in all Philadelphia, something to take people’s breath away when they drive by! Imagine what a little well-focused lighting could do on warm summer nights at that corner, or imagine it all tastefully decorated for the Christmas season!

Also, the Center has formed a team from Calvary Methodist, West Philly Mennonite, and Kol Tzedek, to work on plans for making the old Victorian hulk of a building GREEN! The group is led by Tim Emmett-Rardin, member of Calvary UMC and neighborhood resident. The group has been preparing for an energy audit of the Calvary building and Curio House (the parsonage). The goal is to serve as a role model in greening old structures and to do our part to combat global warming, not to mention save some money!

Be sure to join us for the annual Christmas jazz concert on Sunday, December 20, for a real holiday treat, led by Greg Scott, Calvary UMC’s genius music director, featuring the big band sound of the Big Push, and a real treat to all in the know who have been coming for years! All proceeds go directly to charity right here in our neighborhood.