F.A.Q.s About Construction at Spirit Rock
Q: What’s happening here?! What is the construction for?
A: We’re in the process of fulfilling a vision that originated 25 years ago - to create a permanent Community Hall. Thanks to the support of thousands of our sangha members, we’re building a light-filled Meditation Hall with two additional classrooms, centralized administration offices and a resident staff/teacher village. During construction, we will be able to run 100% of our programs without interruption.
Q: Why another hall? Why build?
A: We have both residential retreats (for people who stay on-site in dormitories up the hill) and non-residential programs here at Spirit Rock. For more than 20 years we’ve been holding our non-residential classes and events in temporary trailers in the meadow. We now offer more than 500 daylong, classes and retreats in a year. The growing need for the wisdom of the Buddha’s teachings around mindfulness and compassion practice continues to grow and we need to have permanent facilities to serve our community.
Q: How long will it take?
A: We expect to complete the project in spring-summer 2015.
Q: Why did you install a gate?
A: It is common practice to offer some basic security measures for the equipment and materials used on a construction site. To support our building partners, contractor and sub-contractors for this $16 million project, we installed a gate at the main entrance to the driveway. The gate will remain open during Spirit Rock business hours (6:00am – 9:30pm) and vehicle access to the property will be available during non-business hours, if needed. As always, all are welcome at Spirit Rock.
Q: What about the noise?
A: While some ambient machinery sound may travel, it will not be continuous. Construction will take place during business work hours (Monday – Friday, 7:00am–4:00pm with occasional Saturdays) and Spirit Rock will be open throughout construction. As with all external aspects of our experience, the teachers will be guiding us in how to effectively practice with this too.
Q: Will this impact my silent retreat?
A: While construction and machinery sound is expected below the gate, it will not be sustained. Construction will take place during regular work hours (Monday – Friday, 7am – 4pm and occasional Saturdays.) Conditions for meditation practice are rarely perfect and environmental sounds are just another subject for our mindful attention. Teachers will give guidance on how to use it as a basis for your practice. All of us at Spirit Rock look forward to supporting you on retreat. Refer to the Construction Map below for the location of construction relative to the Retreat Hall.
Q: Will this construction make it difficult to park?
A: During April and May, construction will require increased diligence for carpooling for Monday nights and some weekend events. By June we will have a fully-functional lower lot for parking. And while the parking lot may look different, we will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to attend weekly classes, weekend events and residential retreats. As always, we encourage carpooling to lessen the impact of all vehicle traffic on the land and in the area.
Q: What will happen to the existing Meditation Hall?
A: The current Community Meditation Hall and trailers in the meadow will all be taken down and the meadow will be restored as a walking area. We are happy to be able to offer 100% of our programs without interruption during the construction. We will not take down the trailers in the meadow until we open the doors of the new Community Hall.
Q: Is this building project 'green'?
A: Yes! Spirit Rock staff and teachers value and embrace green practices in all aspects of our day-to-day operations including this building project. This was named “the greenest project” in West Marin by a local elected official because we are implementing so many green practices. We have taken every step to mitigate any potential harm to our four-legged, feathered, scaled and finned neighbors. We are installing solar, replacing wetlands and protecting riparian zones (areas around creeks and streams) among other efforts. To learn more about the sustainable development of our lower campus build out, please visit our website at: http://www.thousandsofbuddhas.org/green-practices/.
Q: What kind of solar project are you implementing?
A: In October 2013, the Spirit Rock Executive Committee of the Board unanimously approved the campus-wide Solar Array Proposal. When installed, the power generated by the solar array will essentially eliminate 100% of our current PG&E electric bill. Using conservative industry calculations, the solar system will eliminate between 2,400 and 3,600 tons of CO2 over 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 40 to 60 acres of trees.
Q: How much does this cost?
A: This entire Capital Campaign effort has been a long and concerted effort with several phases of building in the past and planned for the future. From the generosity of this community we have been able to fund this current phase ($16 million) to build a light-filled Community Meditation Hall, administration offices and a residential staff/teacher village.
We utilized this phase of our master plan to do the very extensive and expensive permitting processes. After completing this phase of the campaign, as part of our master plan, we will continue to fundraise to cover our ongoing maintenance costs as well as build two new dormitories, a dining hall and a hermitage for long-term practice.