Chief of Operations
An Interview With Dana McKinnis
As Campus House’s Chief of Operations, Dana has served as the primary staff liaison overseeing the construction of the new house. Conversations about building a new facility began more than five years ago, and below, Dana shares what she’s learned and how she’s seen God at work along the way.
What were some key moments throughout the project that demonstrated God’s grace and
Do you have two hours to listen to me list the myriad of ways I have been overwhelmed by God’s grace and provision? If I have to narrow it down to a few bullet points:
- Hundreds of supporters decided to sacrificially give of their assets because of their love for the Lord and Purdue students.
- Purdue’s administration approved and supported the project by allowing access to transformer easements and a construction staging lot for a reasonable rental cost.
- Our very wise and seasoned campaign consultants said we would maybe raise $3 million in four years, and God’s people gave over $6 million in three years.
- According to financing projections, wisdom suggested we start building in 2021. However, our campaign, board, and staff leadership all felt like 2020 was the year. We had no idea the hardships 2020 would bring, but from a construction and transition standpoint, 2020 was ideal. Decreased student foot traffic was incredibly helpful for our construction crews. If we had to be out of our prime campus location for a year, let it be the year of mandated reduced attendance. We signed construction contracts in 2019, before soaring construction materials and shortages of lumber and drywall. If we were building now, we would have likely seen 30-40% higher prices.
As you look back on this five-year process, what have you learned?
If God calls you to something, He will make it possible. That doesn’t mean there won’t be hard moments or lots of long hours, but His provision has been so magnificent in so many ways for the new house. We can’t even dare to selfishly pat ourselves on the back and take any of the credit. This project also showed me how God uses the diverse gifts and skills of the larger Church to build this specific church. Our staff didn’t have the expertise to pull off a project like this. Still, God made sure our volunteer leadership was full of seasoned professionals who had the experience to ask the right questions along the way. God provided trustworthy partners in architecture, design, and construction—Christian practitioners who know they are, ultimately, building for the Lord.
What excites you most about the new house?
For so long, capacity has been a roadblock to so many dreams and visions of our staff. Often we would say, “Let’s direct our efforts to try and reach out to (fill in the blank),” and the response would be, “Where would we put them?” I’m not naïve enough to think all roadblocks are out of the way for future vision and direction, but we have removed a huge hurdle.
Through the new building’s aesthetically-pleasing architecture that fits Purdue, Greyhouse on the corner, and meeting rooms on the first floor where students can study or host group projects, Campus House becomes a location for ALL of campus, not just those looking for church services or a small group. We have yet to realize how busy this new building will be and the associated ministry impacts, but I look forward to seeing what comes to fruition this fall.
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