Making better use of our current space and facilities
You may not have noticed it but the terracotta tiles in the Nave have been replaced. The previous tiles were uneven and have become a hazard as it can trip you up if you are not careful. Other renovation and refurbishment projects are in the pipeline or being considered and I hope to keep you updated here.
New Sound System for the Nave
This has been planned for more than a year now. A new system has been chosen and will be installed soon. Apart from improving the quality of sound all round, it is a system that is easier to maintain with a minimum number of speakers.
Moving the Audio-Visual Console to the back
This is conventionally done in most halls and churches. It will provide for a more accurate visual and sound feedback to the crew. In terms of worship decorum, the activity at the console has been a visual distraction for all the years, being so near to the chancel area. With this, the north side chapel can now be released for worship use. This also allows for the integration of Graham White Library into the Nave (when needed), similar to the South Transept Hall. It will create a symmetry where the cross-shaped Nave can be experienced internally, as well as increasing its capacity. The new console has to be discreetly designed to ensure visual integration and minimum distraction for worshippers near it. As always, such alterations may need the approval of PSM (Preservation Monuments Board).
Lifts at South Transept and North Transept Halls
When these two lifts are built, Cathedral will be able to comply with modern requirements for all her rooms to be disabled-friendly. The facilities on the first and second floors of both transepts will be usable by all, and this is good stewardship of whatever precious spaces we have.
Graham White Library (GWL)
This multifunctional area will be spruced up. During weekdays, it functions as the centre for tourists visiting our Nave area. The corridor on the west side of the Hall (outside the pantry) may be widened to reduce human traffic congestion. As mentioned above, GWL can be integrated into the Nave for Services when needed. The infant room will be removed at that time and moved to one of the rooms at the back of GWL.
New Chapter House at the 3rd level of the North Transept Hall
This will add one more meeting room for the Cathedral Chapter and PCC. It will act as a mezzanine room to support the NT Hall as a creche or overflow facility. This room will also join the east and west wings of NT Hall at the third level, making every part of NT lift accessible.
Prayer Halls : Expanding its current capacity from 200 to 300 pax
The Prayer Halls are now being used to host Services i.e. Hokkien Worship Service and the new eleven:30 Service. HWS is near capacity in attendance and the 6-month old eleven:30 is already about 100+ regularly. We currently have halls of these capacities: 1x100 (Chapel), 1x150-pax (ST), 2x200-pax (PH, NT) and 2 large 800 pax (Nave, CNS). We are considering expanding PH to a 300 pax mid-sized hall which is also useful for our Biblical Studies programme, conferences and seminars.
Canopy over the Amphitheatre and north-east lawn
A canopy will make the amphitheatre usable even when it rains. It will provide for a large overflow space for wedding receptions, post-Service gathering points and community gatherings. It will replace the aging linkway and provide covering and extra entry points for disembarking passengers. It will also replace the current white tents. We are considering building discreet linkways from the West Porch to both the transepts.
As you can see, what we are doing is to improve spaces and facilities we already have. Do pray for the Building and Redevelopment Committee (co-chaired by Keith Chua and Lee Chi Kuan, (actively supported by our staff) as she goes about the work needed to bring these projects to reality.