photo courtesy of Keystruct Construction

Keystruct Construction Gives Lift to ‘Zion Rising’ Project

Story by Michael Vyskocil for YRK Magazine

Behind the brick and steel, and the schematics and surveying, you’ll find something fundamental to the structure of every building: relationships. Those relationships are what Keystruct Construction of York shape through every type of pre-construction, design-build and renovation project its team undertakes. Like the bedrock of a building’s foundation, one Central Pennsylvania faith community nurtured this bedrock support for the construction of new relationships.

Divided is no word any faith community desires. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hummelstown, Dauphin County, was a witness to that division among the members of its congregation. Despite this division, hopes to bring a major project to fruition remained with this faith community for close to 30 years: improve the accessibility of the church.

Key to this undertaking was bringing a new elevator to the building that would offer multi-level access to all church members and members of the community who visit the Hummelstown Food Pantry, housed in the lower level of the church.

Construction Connections

Photo courtesy Keystruct Construction

Connections are the key to any relationship, and a project ofthis scope and scale leveraged connections. The Rev. Lois K. Van Orden, Intentional Interim Pastor, says she learned about Keystruct Construction through Thyssenkrupp Elevator, a diversified industrial firm recommended by her daughter, an architect in New York City. Keystruct Construction’s estimator, Kirk Taylor, says that Keystruct’s work with many church projects positioned it uniquely for Zion Evangelical Lutheran’s needs.

But before any shovel hit the ground, Keystruct Construction needed to make the congregation (even its youngest members) feel connected and a part of this project. Members of Keystruct Construction and its design partner on the project, SAAarchitects of York, attended a service at the church where they presented the scope of work for the building project and invited members of the congregation to ask questions. Given the divisions within this faith community, Kirk says it was gratifying when Keystruct Construction ultimately received unanimous support from the congregation to move forward.

“The elevator project had been on the ‘wish list’ of Zion for 20 to 30 years,” Pastor Lois explains, but due to issues that included cost and confusion about the vision, the elevator project languished. “On a personal note, I saw the need for an elevator to assist the clients of the Hummelstown Food Pantry. As the circle of discussions expanded from the expressions of one senior member of the congregation to the property committee and the Congregation Council [governing body of the congregation], the membership was banning together in support of this project.”

Back to Bedrock

Rock and lots of it: Keystruct’s crews had some digging to do — 16 feet by 16 feet by 16 feet, to be exact — at the project site to create the new home for the church’s elevator. But where some construction contractors would see obstacles, Keystruct Construction saw the challenge as a way to demonstrate its efficiency and project agility.

In addition to the elevator installation itself, Keystruct Construction updated the church’s restrooms in the building’s first and second floors, added ADA-compliant restrooms on the lower level of the structure and created a new ADA-compliant sidewalk for access into the church’s lower level.

“We were able to match the existing brick, roofline and shingles, so that when we’re all done, the upgrades will look as though they’ve always been there,” Kirk says.

The Keystruct Construction Commitment

“We gave them a level of comfort and understanding,” he continues, “and it’s what we do when we work with many clients. We bring people in and make them feel a part of the project, and at the end of the day, it’s more than just a project — it’s having satisfied customers. When you form relationships with churches, in particular, you have to understand that their communities are made up of an incredible range of people from all walks of life. We’re not here to do one project; we hope that, through our work, we get the opportunity to work on other jobs through building relationships.”

Keystruct Construction Project Engineer Nate Leister adds that through his volunteer work with Fitness 4 Focus — a program focused on helping individuals with special needs gain the benefits of physical fitness through workouts — he was able to connect with Hummelstown and appreciate the contributions Zion Evangelical Lutheran makes to its community. Cooperation from the congregation, he adds, helped ensure each portion of the project progressed smoothly.

“The Keystruct team provided the expertise and leadership necessary to complement the vision of the congregation,” Pastor Lois says. “They carried us from vision to reality. Their expertise guided us to the best location for the elevator, which meant that ideas expressed by individual members were addressed professionally without creating division among members as to whose idea was the ‘best.’ Keystruct has been, and continues to be, a source of support to address unforeseen problems which often creep up during construction.”

Riding Out the Old and Riding in the New

“Zion Rising,” the church’s theme for its capital campaign to raise funds for the construction of the new elevator, also takes on new meaning for what will be a “riding out the old and riding in the new” adventure for two senior members of the church community. These individuals — longstanding congregation members who, during a congregation meeting to vote on the proposal, passionately expressed their desire to see the elevator project come to completion — will have the ceremonial honor of riding out the old and riding in the new. In this case, this “ride” will be the last in the church’s old chair lift that transported individuals from floor to floor in the building and the first ride in the new elevator.

“Bringing this project to fruition demonstrates to the congregation that they can indeed work together to make things happen, which was significant to their identity as a ‘new’ congregation, that is, the membership which remained following the period of division,” Pastor Lois says. “Their pleas for it to materialize contributed toward the faith community’s desire to see the project through to completion.”

Keystruct Construction

30 Marianne Dr.

York, PA 17406


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19 Sep