March 31, 2009

09CN: British Adventist Headquarters Coming Back From Flames

British Adventist Headquarters
Coming Back from Flames
Repair work continues; to be complete by 2010
capLess than six months after a devastating fire to the headquarters office of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland on November 16, 2008, the first stage of restoration is almost complete, officials report.
Builders have been hard at work restoring the 'new wing' of the building that houses the Adventist Discovery Center, the Adventist Book Center and the Media Center. Work involved repairing or replacing water and smoke damaged walls and ceilings, rewiring parts of the building, replacing floors and carpeting and taking the opportunity to reshape some parts of the building to make them more fit for specific purposes.


ALMOST HOME: Façade of British Union Conference Headquarters in Watford, Hertsfordshire, England. Following a devastating fire in November, 2008, restoration work is on schedule and the first phase is virtually complete. [Photo: Victor Hulbert/BUC]

This was especially important for the ADC and Media Centre where walls were demolished and extra space created to facilitate enhanced production of media and distance learning resources. It is anticipated that the ADC will be back in place and functioning from the restored office by the beginning of April. A date for the re-opening of the shop will be announced, officials said.

The next phase of the rebuilding efforts will focus on the main corridor of the building. While the design will remain essentially the same it is planned to add dormer windows on the second floor level making the attic space available for open plan offices. Better toilet and kitchen facilities will be established and a lift will be installed to cater for all floors. With the processes of planning, restoration and building it is hoped that this section can be completed by December 2009.
The final section will be the former foyer, board room and administrative area. This was the most severely damaged by the fire and has since been leveled to the ground. Architects are currently working in consultation with church administration to redesign this section of the building to provide both better facilities and to make the building more accessible and presentable to both church members and the public. While still in the early stages the initial concept is that the main entrance will face towards the Park entrance and Stanborough Park church, giving a more open image for those driving past on St. Albans Road. It is anticipated that this final section should be completed by the spring of 2010.
BUC workers are currently working in adequate but somewhat cramped conditions in a light industrial warehouse on the edge of St Albans. While making the best of a difficult situation they are looking forward to returning 'home' to Stanborough Park into facilities that will help them more adequately fulfill their role in resourcing and serving the Adventist church and community across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
                                               -- Reported by Victor Hulbert, British Union Conference, with AR Staff