I'm not sure if this is the appropriate category for this topic, so forgive me if it is not. I'm fairly new here. I wanted to get opinions on something.
The congregation I was raised in, built a new Hall in June, 1984, when I was 7 years old. That congregation recently sold their 20 year old hall, that's very beautiful, and very unique, just so they could have a "new" hall with the new standard design. They claim it was because the old hall had a sloping floor in the auditorium, but the newspaper quoted one of the elders saying they outgrew the building. And also others have said parking was a problem.
The publishers were about 95, which was an average sunday meeting attendance, and I beleive there were about 120 seats not counting the library which was hardly ever used for overflow. The sell of the old hall did cause some of the older publishers to get really angry. What is funny is, the elder that got the 'ball rolling' to sell and rebuild, suddenly moved to the West. After he left, a congregation vote was taken, and the majority ruled they wanted to keep the old hall. A lot next door was purchased to expand the parking lot and paid for with the money that was borrowed to build the new hall.
A month remained with the contract with the Relaters before the old Hall could be taken off the market. Guess what? Someone interested came up with the down payment, and because of the contract with the Relator, it had to be honored. The old hall changed hands and the Kingdom Hall sign taken down on January 25, 2005. The old Hall is now a congregation of the Unitarian Universalists. This weekend the new Hall is being built just few blocks down on the same road.
There is alot of sentimental value to the building. True, buildings are just wood and stone, that does not mean we can just forget about them when they are full of memories. Over the 20 years, I have developed good memories inside that building, and alot of people, including my dad, that have died, I have memories of them in that building. Other individuals that were there when the old Hall was originally constructed have the same feeling. I remember the move out day in the last week in January. I went and just walked around. I stood in the auditorium staring at the stage, the past 20 years flashing through my mind in a few seconds with things such as my first talk.
I do not regret being raised as a JW, the only thing I do regret is my mom is so devout and so into the religion, she does not bend rules for anything! Going back to the old Hall. It had a corner stage. The stage was rounded. The Floor-to-Ceiling in the back of the hall I beleive was 9 feet. The floor-to-ceiling in the front of the hall (not including the stage, but the lowest point) is I beleive 14 feet. There were about 7 or 8 rows of chairs from the back of the hall to the front. The original design, the stage was 6 sided, with thee sides being against the wall, and three sides being toward the audience. The front of the stage was rounded off during the rennovation in 1996. The original colors were blue, blue, and... blue! The walls and ceiling was a dark blue in the back, baby blue in the center, and white in the front. Blue drapres went across the back wall of the stage. The carpet was brown, and when it was later replaced, guess what color? BLUE!
The extensive rennovations in 1996 took out a wall in the foyer, making the auditorium visable from the front doors, and the color scheme is black and gold, which is very pretty. The walls were painted a gold color, there were 13 marble columns throughout the auditorium evenly spaced, and the dropdown wall over the stage, was torn out and replaced with a "stair step" with two levels, and not only was that over the stage, but it outlined the auditorium with spotlights. The original white wood back chairs w/white & brown pinstripe seats were replaced with modern black theater seats and the carpet was replaced with a very light brown, almost white, carpet. The drapes were taken down from the stage, and wallpaper on the back stage walls was installed along with new wallpaper in the library and foyer. A nice wallpaper border was placed in the auditorium and foyer, and black ceiling fans were installed. The outside of the Hall was left untouch other than replacing old "porch" lights with new ones, putting on a new roof and building a "porch" over the back door that led into the library.
From what I hear, the color scheme for the new Hall is going to be the black & gold design as well. The Unitarians have since stripped all the wallpaper and border from the inside and paited it all "gold" because the wallpaper was hedious. You can see some pictures from inside of the old Kingdom Hall on their website as they work on it on their website http://www.uulongview.com/photo.html To get the full size, you'll have to right click and save the picture to your computer. They are fairly large photographs. You can see some more pictures by checking out their February and March newsletters accessable from the main page.
My question is this. What do you think? Do you think this is a waste of money? All I could think of is when in the bible that one ruler had grain storages, and nothing was wrong with them, so he torn them down for bigger and better. To me this is no different. And in addition I think of those people in poorer countries that do not have places to meet because they cannot afford new Halls. Maybe its just the "sentilmentalist" in me.