The Somers Congregational United Church of Christ lost their Meeting House to a tragic fire on January 1, 2012. The building that was lost in the fire was the third Meeting House for the congregation. Built in 1842, it sat in a very prominent location on Main Street in Somers, across from the Town Hall.
The immediate reaction of the congregation was to have the Meeting House rebuilt exactly as it had been before the fire. The reality is that, for many reasons, a building like this cannot be constructed the way that it was built in 1842. As we worked with the Building Committee to develop a design solution, they came to understand that the new building would be an improvement over the old.
Modern building technologies allowed them to build a better building which, from the outside, appears much like the original building. Behind the classical lines of the exterior façade, there is a modern structure that is more durable, more fire-resistant, more energy-efficient, more accessible and requires far less maintenance.
The new Meeting House provides many amenities for the congregation that were long overdue. The new Foundation Hall at the lower level is column-free. There is a large, modern commercial kitchen that services this space for the many activities held by the congregation. There is also ample storage adjacent to the Foundation Hall for the storage of chairs and tables.
Accessibility has been improved in several ways. A new elevator provides access to all three levels of the new structure, including the balcony level. A series of small ramps provide access to the church offices. A ramp in the Sanctuary provides access to the Chancel. Meeting space has been expanded and improved.
Life safety has been improved at every turn in this new building. The new structure is a steel frame with concrete floors. A sprinkler system provides fire protection throughout the new facility. For the first time, there are code compliant exits from all three levels, and there is a code-compliant alarm system complete with notification.
The new Meeting House honors the original edifice by replicating its traditional forms; it returns a noble structure to a prominent location on Main Street. For the members of Somers Congregational Church, they have a safer, more accessible, functional, and beautiful place to worship and to develop as a faith community.