Sledgehammers, hardhats, and water bottles on folding tables greeted North American Division employees in the foyer of the new division headquarters as they gathered for an official tour and drywall breaking ceremony this week.
For most, this was their first visit to the building in Columbia, Maryland, located several miles up the road from their current workplace in the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist world church in Silver Spring, Maryland. The new North American Division (NAD) building was recently vacated by its former tenant. Self-guided tours started at 4 p.m. May 31.
After a quick welcome from Jim Walker, NAD faculty services director, employees spent an hour roaming the four floors, checking out new office space, locker rooms, recording studios, meeting places, and posted floor plans.
“This will be the chapel,” said Duane Sterner, building project superintendent, pointing to what is now an office workroom. “And we’ll move those frosted glass walls over to offices along that wall.”
The interior renovations officially started June 1 and will include major rewiring and office space reconfigurations. A large, multipurpose room with a speaking platform will also be created. It will be large enough to accommodate division-wide meetings.
At 5 p.m., Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president; G. Alexander Bryant, executive secretary; and Tom Evans, treasurer; donned hard hats and goggles and grabbed the long-handled hammers to break down dry wall.
“We pray that at the very onset of the reconstruction and renovation of this building that Your name will be associated with it; that Your name will always be honored in this building,” Jackson said as he led employees in prayer. “[We pray] that we will create the atmosphere of heaven within these walls; and that Your name will always be uplifted. Bless us as we do what we are about to do.”
After prayer, on a count of three, the officers plunged the sledgehammers into a second floor wall. With this symbolic gesture, a flurry of activity in preparation for a projected April 2017 opening commences.
Watch highlights from the ceremony that started the renovation of the North American Division’s new headquarters on May 31. (NAD)