Envisioning our Home

MZMC's Board of Directors is moving forward with long-term planning to take care of our place of practice. We have been studying options and consulting with professionals and our practice community for more than four years and have adopted a vision to expand our facility on the current site within the next few years. We are excited to work with you and all members of our sangha to improve our capacity to support people in giving themselves to Zen practice here amidst our gardens on the shore of Lake Calhoun.

Envisioning Our Home Update

Update: July 24, 2015
Our update for July centers on the annual appeal and its relevance to envisioning our home.

A new era for Minnesota Zen Center on Lake Calhoun!

It's time — we've completed Phase One of envisioning our home: a thorough assessment of our current position, our needs, and our dreams for what we might achieve together. We have:

  • Made the decision to stay on the lake and remodel our current building, with an addition to give us more space
  • Engaged the sangha in a survey of our wants and needs for the building (for example, more room for programming, better accessibility, and a main floor bathroom).
  • Received a grant to determine the deferred maintenance needed to make our building safe and sustainable Done interviews with prospective architects and builders about their processes and costs

Now we are moving into Phase Two of our project, which will start move us further down our path and help us determine the costs and possibilities ahead. We need to:

  • Hire an architect and a builder to draw up preliminary plans for our renovation and addition, and provide cost estimates for our project
  • Have our property surveyed, including mapping our utilities

Our goal is to raise $10,000 to complete this crucial phase of the project by the end of August. Once Phase Two is completed, we will move on to blueprints for an expanded, new-era MZMC. Such an exciting possibility for us all!

We have a rich history and wonderful things going for us — a great teaching group, a strong sangha that is consistently increasing in size, steady enrollment in retreats and classes, and at least 1,200 visitors a year to our introductory program. We're at a crossroad that is full of potential for the future of the Center and our capacity to share the dharma in the Midwest. Please help us to provide a healthy space, respond to our growth, and plant seeds for the future!

What's next?

The Board is currently exploring options for recruiting a design professional to create conceptual building plans by the end of 2015. These drawings will help the community visualize the future look and feel of the building, and will help to generate interest in and funding for the project.

The Board will also be looking at the projected growth in membership and other sources of financing to establish broad budget parameters for the project. A formal feasibility study will take place in early 2016 to ensure that we have not only the will but also the resources to turn our vision into reality.

All are welcome to attend monthly meetings of the MZMC Board. These meetings are generally held on the third Sunday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A Brief History of MZMC Board's Strategic Facilities Planning Process

This brief history provides links to key documents from the Board's long-term facility planning process. In particular, it explains the Board's decision to expand on our current site. Here we will document Board processes from early 2011 to the present, presented in reverse chronological order and updated as new developments take place:

In March, the Board presented its plans for the facility expansion at the annual community meeting. The presentation included a summary of guiding principles, spatial needs, and next steps. Members were invited to comment and ask questions about the plan.

In February, the Board adopted the recommendations of the Facility Development Committee, which included a summary of guiding principles as well as an outline of the community's spatial and functional needs. The community input gathered in 2014, as well as the recommendations of the leadership group (teaching staff) served as the foundation for the committee's recommendations. These reports are available here:

Throughout 2014, the Board sought community input and worked with the City of Minneapolis and a range of professionals to determine options for expansion.

On November 17, the Board accepted a report from its Facility Development Committee, summarizing community input gathered to date and articulating the most commonly voiced values, principles, and concerns.

During the third quarter of 2014, the Board invited community discussion on facility development through a variety of written and verbal means. This included a community meeting on August 3, "tea and conversation" on September 7, and Council Process on November 2.

At the August 3 community meeting, the Board presented a brief history of the strategic planning process to date. Below is an outline of the presentation with links to relevant documents.
Click here for the more complete version of the presentation.
Click here to listen to the presentation.

At its May 18 meeting, the Board moved decisively to pursue an expansion of the facility on the current site. This was a modification of the raze-and-rebuild decision announced in 2013, largely as a result of the redevelopment options presented by Garth Rockcastle.

There was a sangha meeting to consider the strategic planning proposal developed in 2012 (see below). The plan was well received and the Board began to move forward to determine whether or not it would be possible to build anew on the current site.

The Board hired well-respected architect Garth Rockcastle (Meyer, Scherer, and Rockcastle, Ltd.) to determine whether our plan was feasible. He gave two Board presentations and one presentation at a sangha meeting to help envision possibilities on our site. He suggested a phased development plan, which would begin by building an addition and allow for the eventual replacement of our current building. This plan would allow us to practice on our site throughout any expansion process. It would also allow us to make a larger, improved facility for lower cost at the outset and then have the option to replace the current building at a further phase of the plan as needs require and funding allows.
Click here to view a PDF from Garth Rockcastle's Board presentation. (This is a large file so it will take a minutes or two to appear in your browser.)
Click here to download Garth Rockcastle's Power Point presentation to the community.
Click here to listen to the MP3 of Garth Rockcastle's presentation to the community.

Board formed the Strategic Planning Committee and tasked it with providing the Board with a recommendation on how to deal with the many issues surrounding our facilities.

Board hired Cincinnatus consulting to help engage the community and facilitate the process of making long-term facility plans. Held two Board retreats, one stakeholder retreat with thirty MZMC members, and two sangha meetings to work together to make a decision.

The strategic planning committee submitted their final recommendation: to demolish our current building and build a new one on our site; if this is not possible, move to another location. The Board voted to bring this recommendation to the community for consideration at an all-sangha meeting.
Click here for the recommendation.

Board created an Expansion Feasibility Study, which investigated the possibility of either adding onto our building or moving to a different site in South Minneapolis. This study included input from an architect, a realtor, and the Minneapolis City Planning and Economic Development Office.
Click here for 2011 Expansion Feasibility Study.

Board hired Load Bearing to do a Reserve Replacement Study. They provided a detailed an extensive report showing that our building had $200,000 in deferred maintenance, which should be addressed in the near future.
Click here for Load Bearing Study. (This is a large file so it will take a minutes or two to appear in your browser.)

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.