Richard H. Thomas, Ph.D, Building Committee Chairperson

The Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church faced two extremely difficult problems that challenged all our prospective architects: a – degree slope from the front door of the church to the edge of our property, and incorporating an elevator in a 1900 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The team from Martin Design made a presentation to us that immediately helped us see a way to accomplish our goals. They took the challenge and brought us a feasible plan even before we hired them. With additional study they offered us several different ways to achieve our goals. The team was patient in working with us and keenly aware of the needs of the congregation to remain a worshiping and functioning congregation during the construction period. We appreciated their constant sensitivity to our questions and their thoughtful explanations of each decision we needed to make.

The two phased plan gave us a safe, highly serviceable parking lot that is safe, suits the topography, and an elevator with five stops to accommodate the strange adjustments made to the hill over the years. The new elevator containment structure reconciles both the style and feel of the original building and a newer educational building. It creates a lovely interior space by the use of open landings and carefully placed windows. The end results have met with great enthusiasm by the congregation. The new flow of traffic around the building and within the entire church space plus the enlarged and convenient parking lot have more than met our expectations.

I appreciated the flexibility of the Martin team and their commonsense approaches to even unexpected problems. There was never a moment when we did not feel they were our advocates and working with us on a project of special importance. Dave Martin talked to us about “partnering” in his first presentation. Today we know that concept is more than an empty idea – it is a most enjoyable way of accomplishing a large and complex task and building lasting bonds of respect and friendship.