Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chapter 28 - Meetinghouses

Two story building - chapel and cultural hall are upstairs
Parking lot has 10 parking stalls
This post is written for the benefit of my Facilities Management friends and former comrades, who, by the way I miss…  In former posts I have mentioned some of the challenges and differences the FM groups face on this island.  If I mention them here, than so be it…  I hope you enjoy this...  Susan

Open air corridors
·      Corridors - There are 16 buildings (2 more in planning). Most of them have no halls as we know them.  All the rooms open into beautiful landscaped courtyards. 

·      Chapels – Most have ceramic tile floors and if they have pews they are not attached to the floor.  No work orders to secure pews… 
·      Floors - The floors are mostly ceramic tile.  Some of the chapels have carpet and some of the cultural halls have terrazzo flooring – but not many.  No wood floors to screen and re-coat…
One of the chapels

·      HVAC - There are no boilers, furnaces or water heaters to worry about.  Only a few of the chapels and cultural halls have A/C.  Most have ceiling fans – as many as 24 depending on the size of the rooms.  I only know of two chapels that have air conditioning.  If the building has a Relief Society room it usually has air conditioning.  Some of the bishop offices and stake offices have A/C as well.  They are the wall hung Mitsubishi type units.  Speaking of bishop offices, we were in one the other day that was a classroom with a banquet table in it.  No A/C, file cabinet, credenza, carpet, drapes or any of the other amenities that are usually found in a bishop office.  Actually, he uses a classroom - he has no office.  So if he has to conduct ward business he is at the mercy of the auxilliary schedule.   
Baptismal font
Stairs on the left lead up to the stake offices
·      Pianos/Organs – Not all of the buildings have pianos in the chapel.  Most have piano/organ units, but some have only keyboards.  There are no pianos in the Relief Society rooms.  Most Primary rooms have keyboards. 
Baptismal font
(most are outdoors)

·      Hymn books - They don’t leave their hymn books in the hymn book racks.  The Aaronic Priesthood boys bring them into the chapel before the meetings start and gather them up after Sacrament meeting.  These Saints really love to sing.  It is so inspiring to hear them – adults as well as children.  In fact many don’t bring scriptures to church, but most bring their hymnbooks. 

·      Baptismal Fonts – Most are located outside in the courtyard.  They have roofs over them – much like the fales.  Some are ground level – so you climb up and down stairs to get into them!  Because there are no water heaters the font can be filled in a relatively short time. The temperature of the water is not too bad – kind of lukewarm. 
You can't really see, but there is lots of rust on these fountains...
·      Drinking Fountains – 
Some buildings don’t have drinking fountains.  If they do it has only been within the past year that water filters have been installed on them so the water is safe to drink – since a new FM manager was hired.  Most everyone here buys filtered water because the water is so bad.  We attended church at a building that does not have a drinking fountain and drinking the sacrament water was a whole new experience.
Notice the rust on the RS chairs...
The padding is about 1/4 inch thick...

·      Relief Society Rooms – Very few meetinghouses have designated Relief Society Rooms.  If they have one, they usually have drapes, but no pianos or carpeting.  This is a picture of the Relief Society room where we teach institute.  Notice the chairs – and then appreciate what we have.  We are so spoiled…
Relief Society Room
(notice the drapes)
No piano...

·      Landscaping/Sprinkling – There are no irrigation systems to worry about – no repairs, stuck valves, lines to blow out or brown grass….  They use coconut shells instead of bark in the shrub/flower beds. 

·      Parking lots – The parking lots are concrete – the newer ones are stamped to look like brick pavers.  To mark the parking stalls, they cut out the sections and put in different colored concrete – even the handicap stall emblems are done that way.  You never have to re-stripe…  The parking lots are small – most have about 15 to 20 stalls.  Most people either walk to church or ride the bus.  The stake center lots are a little larger.

·      Mold & Mildew – The biggest challenge they face is the mold and mildew problem.  It is everywhere.  A lot of the time is spent fighting this issue.  Also, mechanical and electrical units need more maintenance because of it.  HVAC units and electrical units need to be replaced every couple of years due to this problem.  Another problem they fight is the deterioration of the rock walls around the meetinghouses.  The seawater erodes them and they have to be repaired constantly.  One building located right on the ocean (about 20 yards from the beach), has a stone and rod iron wall around it.  The rod iron has to be repainted about every three months at at cost of $4,000 each time it is painted.  I told the FM I would get rid of the fence...
Sorry this is sideways.  That is a WonDoor in good condition...

   The FM and I enjoy comparing stories - the differences and similarities as well as the challenges.  So many things are different over here, but then there are a lot that are the same in FM groups here and at home.  Because of my background we have been able to get lots of things done in the buildings that needed to be done, which probably wouldn't have been done otherwise.  One thing that is vastly different is the standards....  nothing is a "3" - try a 4.5 or a 5...  All in all I am happy I am not an FM here.  The members take care of the outsides of the buildings - the grounds are immaculate.  But the insides are awful.  Even after they clean on Saturday the buildings at their best are worse than the buildings at their worst in the USA.  Count your blessings!  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post Susan, I love hearing about the differences in the way buildings are designed, used and cared for around the world. I don't know how the Samoan people can have church without flat screens mounted in RS rooms and wifi to every corner of the building!

    Sounds like you are enjoying yourselves and doing good work. Take care.
    - Darren Webster