The Courtyard Construction Project

This year, the parking lot in the heart of our campus will be transformed into a manicured 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

June 13, 2024

Demolition is wrapping up, and foundation work has begun. The loads and forces involved in raising the courtyard several feet, combined with the old foundations of our buildings, make the foundation work complicated (and expensive–the most expensive part of the project).

Reduced giving has since resulted in further budget cuts to this project. In particular, the ramp toward Delancey street is removed from the plan, and many of the decorative elements of the paving have been removed. Also, it is unclear what lighting, if any, will be present this fall. The building committee hopes to be able to revisit many of these elements in the future when budget allows.

June 4, 2024

Demolition began today. The “temporary” wooden decking has been removed, the wall has been cut back to roughly its permanent length, and the railings have started to be cut back. You can see from the photo below why passing through the courtyard between buildings won’t be possible for some time: there is now a moat between what was once a parking lot and the doors into the back of 1710 spruce. Further removal of the hardscaping is coming this week; most of the concrete and asphalt in this photo will be removed.

May 28, 2024

During construction, the existing ramps from both Spruce Street and Delancey Street will be demolished and unavailable for use. For accessible entrance to the main building, a new temporary ramp has been installed at the Delancey Entrance. Starting Sunday, June 9th, please plan to enter at the Delancey entrance if you would benefit from the use of a ramp. After entering the building, the elevator is available to ascend to the level of the sanctuary. To help make this feasible, we ask that street parking on 17th between Spruce and Delancey only be used by those with limited mobility. Read more about parking here.

A picture of the temporary ramp at the Delancey street entrance to the Delancey building.  The ramp is accessible from the east side of the door, and stairs are available on the west side.

April 2024

Construction is expected to begin June 3. In light of a decline in giving, Session has decided to cut some costs where possible. The initial courtyard project will not include lighting, nor a beautifying of the entrance from Delancey, nor any kind of plantings. Also, the Sunday Carriage House check-in will continue to be outdoors. Most of the cost of the project will be underground as significant work will be needed to reinforce foundations and resolve drainage issues.

Contracts are now signed, and we look forward to the start of construction.

January 2024

The Courtyard Committee continues to meet and coordinate logistics. Details are still being worked out, but we expect demolition work to begin in earnest in June, 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 will be accessible from Delancey Street. Ramp access will be provided at the Delancey building entrance (use the elevator to access the sanctuary).
  • 1710 Spruce will be accessible only from Spruce Street. There will be no ramp option for 1710 Spruce.
  • The Carriage House will be closed for the duration of the project.
  • Exits to the courtyard will be reserved for emergency use only during the project.

What about accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers?

During the project, accessibility into the main building will be available, but via the Delancey Street entrance to the Delancey building (use elevator for access to the sanctuary).

Once the project is complete, accessibility will be provided from Spruce street only; there will no longer be ramp access from Delancey.

What about parking?

Yes, there will be a loss of on-campus parking spots. A few spaces will remain for loading and unloading. 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.