By Margaret Magnus
In the beginning of the planning process for the Workshop, a number of ideas and building sites were discussed.
One idea included a two-story, wood-frame building with a future "dormitory" for overnight guests on the second floor. The dormitory raised issues of zoning, permits, bathroom facilities, and septic and water issues.
Another option was a Workshop built into the brow of the hill below the main building on what is called “the ring road.” It also called for a roof-top patio in view of the Topa Topa Bluffs. That option proved far too expensive with preliminary estimates in the neighborhood of $300,000.
The Board also went to the other extreme evaluating a plan to use one or more cargo containers as an interim solution for a garage/workshop for an estimated $10,000.
All of these ideas were eventually determined not suitable for Meher Mount, its needs, and its finances.
THE BEST OPTION IS A CONCRETE BUILDING WITH A STEEL ROOF
After a number of discussions about various options, the Board and Manager/Caretakers went back to the basic criteria for the Workshop:
- A building made of "fireproof" or at least fire-resistant materials
- Termite-proof materials
- An accessible site that does not require much additional preparation
- A building large enough to accommodate the tractor, a ride-on mower and tools, and a workshop area
- Space for general storage that is easily accessible
- Electrical outlets and lighting
- Access to water
- Low long-term maintenance
Based on these criteria, the Board chose to build a concrete building with a steel roof. It was to be built on the original site of the farmhouse/garage and the existing location of the "temporary" workshop.
Incorporating previous ideas, the conceptual design called for a patio beside the Workshop it that still had views of the Topa Topa Bluffs.
THE PROPOSED BUILDING IS STILL EXPENSIVE
While the concrete-and-steel type of construction met the “fireproof” – or at least fire-resistant - requirements, it was expensive for Meher Mount. The Board decided the extra expense up upfront would help save upkeep expenses later and reduce the risk of termites.
This option required more than the $20,000 originally donated.
Fortunately, as the discussions on the Workshop had proceeded, donors added to the Workshop fund over the years reaching $122,075 for the project.