No one knows our church building better than Dale Whitney—he is the facilities and hospitality director, after all. While the average UPCer visits the Sanctuary and select classrooms weekly, experiencing them in pristine condition, Dale has seen all the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the building over the years. He’s been through renovations, floods, snow, weddings, and youth events since 1994. What better person to take us on a tour and fill us in on all the details?
This three-part mural was painted during Advent 2009 by Matt Whitney—much if it was actually done in the Sanctuary during services. The sermon series that December was “Yesterday, Today, Forever,” so the mural incorporates symbols of these themes into each panel. Yesterday: the angel announces the Incarnation. Today: the Seattle skyline, bus sign, airplane. Forever: planets, stars.
Between the second and third floors in the staircase past the 280 classrooms is a set of doors mounted in the wall. They go nowhere.
“They used to be the main business doors of the church, but we took them out in 1996,” says Dale. If you look at the building from across 15th Avenue, you’ll see a window in the shape of a pointed arch. “We kept the doors, thinking we would use them someplace, but we realized that they don’t meet the current fire codes. So we put them in this hallway in 2001.”
The doors to nowhere do open, however. The Cub Scouts use the small space behind them as a geocaching site. (If you’re not sure what geocaching is, we suggest you Google it.)
When UPC remodeled the third-floor classrooms in 2001, making kids feel welcome was a top priority. Three of the very intentional features that were installed in order to realize this priority were:
- one-way glass at classroom entrances so parents can check in without distracting kids
- kid-sized toilets (cute!)
- a slidable banister on the stairs. Four-year-old Jackson Kenney wrote about the banister in a UPC Times feature about his Sunday experiences: “After class, I like to slide down the railing from the third to second floor,” he said. “A lot of the kids do it” (January 2011).
Somewhere near the financial archives (no, we won’t tell you where that is, and it takes a special key anyway) a creepily accurate model of a child lives in a bag, as well as a bag of replacement baby heads. Volunteer for CFM, and you too will get to see them.
If you ever visit the West Wing—that’s insider lingo for the office area just to right as you come in the main doors near Calvin Lounge—be sure to stop by the cubicle of Becky Riggers (aka the Bull Pen), Community Team Executive Assistant. Get acquainted with Magnetic Jesus and ask Becky about Squirrel Underpants and BARF. Nearly as interesting as the desk is the woman sitting at it; read more here.
You can’t get to this room in the belly of the beast without a special key (and we recommend a hard hat), but we’re pleased to report that, at the time of writing, the heating and cooling systems are functional and UPC’s spiders are happily living far from the crowds (thank God!).