The Courtyard Construction Project

This year, the parking lot in the heart of our campus will be transformed into a beautiful courtyard. This is envisioned as a flexible event space for hosting fellowship events, such as coffee hour, receptions, and Tenth Saturday Night. This area is also our front door to many in our community, as neighbors enter this way for Playgroup, voting on election day, and many of our outreach events.

Project Updates

January 2023

The Courtyard Committee continues to meet and coordinate logistics. Details are still being worked out, but we expect demolition work to begin in earnest June 1, with other prep work before then.

September 26, 2023

We have permits and the lighting design is nearly complete. However, the Session has agreed with the unanimous recommendation of the Building Committee to delay construction until late Spring 2024, when it will have a much less severe impact to ministry activity on-campus. Planning efforts will continue over the winter, some preparation work and light demolition will begin after Easter, and heavy construction will begin with June.

August 21, 2023

Updated drawings have been submitted to the city for permitting. We have no idea how long this will take. It could be as little as a week, or as long as a couple of months. The engineering changes represented in these drawings require notably different methods of construction than originally planned, which will impact costs. We have yet to hear from our contractors about the actual cost differences.

We are also awaiting a finalized lighting design. The lighting will significantly impact the feel of the space after dark, so we want to get it right. Also, since conduit will need to be run under much of the concrete work, we need the final lighting design before the concrete work happens.

It remains unclear whether work will start this Fall or wait until Spring/Summer 2024.

July 11, 2023

Engineering work continues. A small hole has been dug to investigate one of the existing retaining walls to better understand its ability to retain additional loads.

Construction won’t begin until late August, at the earliest. The Courtyard and Building Committees are discussing the option of delaying construction until Spring/Summer 2024, when the campus has less ministry activity than it does in the Fall.

June 26, 2023

Design work continues for determining how the retaining walls and foundation walls need to be reinforced to handle the changing loads.

June 13, 2023

Engineering concerns have been raised about some of the foundation and retaining walls in the project area. In particular, the courtyard will have more live load when full of people than it currently sustains with cars. (People weigh more per square foot of area than cars.) This requires reengineering, and those revised plans will need to be submitted to and approved by the city. Demolition was originally planned to start next week (June 19), but will be delayed. We do not want to start demolition until the plans are approved, because that could result in a work stoppage with the courtyard out of commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the project impact moving between buildings?

The exact extent of the closures will vary through the course of the project, but access through the courtyard is unlikely.

  • The front entrance of the main building on Spruce street (the portico) will remain open for services throughout the project.
  • The main building may or may not be accessible from Delancey street, depending on the phase of construction.
  • 1710 Spruce will be accessible only from Spruce Street.
  • The Carriage House will be accessible only from Delancey Street.
  • Exits to the courtyard could be used in the event of an emergency, but should be used in that emergency situation only.

What about accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers?

During the project, accessibility into the main building will be maintained for Sundays. However, the specific path may vary week to week. We will update this page, post signage, and include details in the midweek email as they become available. For now, the existing ramp from Spruce Street remains intact.

Once the project is complete, accessibility will be enhanced. There will be ADA-Compliant ramps toward both Spruce and Delancey streets (the current ramp toward Delancey is not compliant), and the reconfiguration should reduce or eliminate cars blocking the ramp.

What about parking?

Yes, there will be a loss of on-campus parking spots. One or two spaces will remain for loading and unloading, which will need to be reserved in advance. However, we believe the benefits for community and outreach outweigh the convenience of a few parking spaces. Tenth will continue to work with the City of Philadelphia and nearby parking garages for discounted rates, particularly outside business hours, when most of our events take place.

During construction, the courtyard will be entirely unavailable for parking.

We are also exploring options to better support Tenth employees, such as negotiated parking rates, and Tenth has joined Septa’s program for employers.