Building Renovation Project: Details and Progress News

The White Plum Asanga in front of the renovated zendo building.

***UPDATE: Our Building Renovation Project is complete!***
This page will be updated soon with pictures and more information. In the meantime, check out the latest edition of our newsletter to learn more.

Phase 1 of our renovation project is complete!

When our Wisconsin retreat property was acquired almost 12 years ago, our intention was always to restore prairie on the land and to convert the large work building to a zendo (meditation hall). I'm happy to report that the prairie restoration is underway, with the fruits of our labor beginning to manifest.

Due to the generosity of so many, we are within reach of achieving our goal for the building renovation. During Phase 1 of our fundraising, we raised over $38,600. GPZC Board members contributed $25,140. About $4,100 came from major fundraising events, $3,000 from existing reserves in our general fund and the remaining $6,400 from generous donations from our friends and supporters like you. With this, we were able to convert the building to a beautiful and functional space for seasonal occupancy (April 15 though October 15) including:

  • High quality insulation in the walls and ceiling
  • All new drywall on walls and ceiling
  • All new electrical wiring
  • Energy-saving recessed, dimmable LED ceiling lighting and quality ceiling fans
  • 10 large well-insulated windows allowing beautiful natural light and two new steel doors
  • Natural wood trim on doors and windows
  • Grading of the earth around the building to improve drainage

The renovated zendo building underwent a major transformation from its origin as a work building/garden storage shed. Now a large, airy space (24'x40') with high ceiling and lots of windows, it served as the venue for the 2016 White Plum Asanga Meeting in early May. The building now has all-new insulation, electrical wiring and drywall. Recessed LED lighting has been installed. The 10 large windows have natural wood sills and both doors have natural wood trim. The building has new fascia, soffits and siding and the earth around the zendo has been excavated and graded to prevent water damage to the building. A beautiful barn quilt with the 8-spoked Dharma Wheel hangs above the door and we have another oval barn quilt with our logo, the Kuroda family crest, on the Sangha house. Both quilts were drawn and painted by Chris Wellington with help from local artists Kathy King and Nana Showalter.

The building will eventually be our permanent zendo and also an available space for a variety of classes including the Ripples Children's meditation programs, yoga, qigong, and larger gatherings such as interfaith meditation. We will make the space available to be rented by like-minded groups when not in our use. The building is in compliance with Wisconsin commercial code, including ADA accessibility, and has been approved for seasonal use (May 1 - October 15) until heating is installed. We are grateful for the hard work and expertise of the builders and contractors, Henry Sefrood and Jason Vogel and all of the subcontractors, and architect Aaron Holverson, who drew the plans for state approval.

All of this was completed in time for the hosting of the White Plum Asanga in early May, a gathering of dharma successors in our lineage from all over the world, from Glarus, Switzerland to San Diego, California. It was a wonderful meeting and the new building at Myoshinji played a big part in making the meeting a success. The participants made many comments about the beauty and versatility of our new space.

With the accomplishment of Phase 1, we are entering the second and final phase of fundraising for this project: to make this building our permanent, year-round meditation hall while maintaining its multiple-use capability. What remains is to install a roof, heating and flooring at a total cost of $12,950 as follows:

  • Roof $4,950 Already covered by Board Member donations
  • Heating $3,500 Already covered by Board Member donations
  • Flooring $4,500 Needed from this fundraising effort

We are installing a metal roof, similar to the one on our other building that will be extremely durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. Our building contractors have identified a heating system most appropriate for our use and the flooring will be a high quality laminate – both durable and beautiful for the zendo.

Just $4,500 more will bring this project to completion. Together with the Board of Directors of the Great Plains Zen Center, I ask you to consider making a tax-deductible donation. It would be especially helpful to receive donations by the middle of September, so that our October retreat will be our first in the new meditation hall.

Check out our May 2016 newsletter for more about the renovation and the White Plum Asanga meeting.

Click here to go back to the Fundraising page.