St. John’s, the Building: A Conversation with David Tucker

This interview is the first in a three-part series about our church facility and keeping it sustainable for future generations. | by Carolyn H’Doubler

“Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple – open the doors and see all the people.”

How many times have we said this little rhyme to our children or grandchildren over the years? It is certainly true at St. John’s that upon opening the doors, we see many, many people, and not just on Sundays. Every day of the week one group or another uses our facilities, and together they serve as the visible part of our ministries, mission and outreach. Our parish is known for the generous use of its facilities. David Tucker offers some insights and perspective on our facilities and their upkeep from his role as property committee chair and his work as an environmental engineer.

How many years have you been at St. John’s and how long have you served on the property committee, and what is the primary function of the property committee at St. John’s? 
My wife, Lana, and I started attending St. John’s in 1981 and raised our two sons in this church. I have served on the property committee for over 10 years. Typically, the committee meets two to three times a year to plan and coordinate the care of the parish buildings and grounds. We work closely with the minister for parish administration, staying well informed about existing conditions and building issues needing attention.
As an example, we recently addressed a longstanding leak on the first floor which required gutter work and other repairs. These drainage improvements provided the needed first step that enabled a major renovation of the former nursery space into a new youth room.

Can you describe the critical property needs that must be addressed over the next year at St. John’s? 
Although there are numerous issues that need to be addressed, the most crucial property concern is our HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). The parish hall was constructed in 1997 and the average HVAC system has a useful life of 20 years or less. Although it has been well maintained, our current HVAC system is obsolete, making repairs difficult and more costly. The parish’s annual operating budget provides for routine maintenance and repairs, but does not include major capital expenditures such as this. Additional designated reserves are required to meet major capital needs.

Your background as an environmental engineer must be an asset to your role on the property committee. 
I definitely can draw on my training as an environmental engineer, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wide range of expertise and wisdom. The committee is mostly composed of engineers and contractors, and also includes people with experience in the fields of architecture, interior design and business. Currently, the Douthat brothers (John and Andy), Lucian Grove, Nathan Harper, MaryJean Levin, Martin Pruitt, Dick Sayers, Tom Schroeder, John Whittle and Lee Wilhelm are serving. 

Find out more about the history of St. John's here.

Published in the August 2019 issue of The Record.