San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Annex renovation project complete

RENOVATED AND READY FOR THE FUTURE­ — The San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin held a grand re-opening ceremony Sept. 11 for its Annex Building. photo by Todd Tsudama

RENOVATED AND READY FOR THE FUTURE­ — The San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin held a grand re-opening ceremony Sept. 11 for its Annex Building. photo by Todd Tsudama

SAN JOSE — The renovations to the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin’s Annex Building are complete, and the facility is ready for future generations to enjoy. The renovation began approximately a year ago as part of a two-phase capital project titled “Generations.” The first phase of the project involved seismic and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility upgrades. The church’s Education Building will be remodeled in the second phase of the project.

“The goal was to create a safe and secure gathering spot for many generations to come,” said Todd Tsudama, Generations program manager.

The church’s Rev. Gerald Sakamoto said, “We’ve used and enjoyed the facility. We want to provide for future generations.”

Some of the improvements to the annex include a remodeled kitchen that features a walk-in pantry and updated countertops, seismic upgrades to the walls and roof, air conditioning, the installation of an elevator and stage lift, the expansion of the women’s and men’s bathrooms, new stage curtains and new gym basketball hoops.

A grand re-opening ceremony for the renovated Annex Building was held Sept. 11.

The renovation, which began after last year’s Obon festival, was completed in time for this year’s Obon festival, which was held in July, Sakamoto said.

“There were still some things, but the major work was completed. We had to have the renovations completed by the time of the Obon, as the annex is such an important part of the event,” he said.

“Everyone seemed to enjoy it,” he said of people’s reactions to the renovated building.

Since the annex was closed during the renovation, church and community groups temporarily relocated to other sites to hold their meetings and events.

“Some of our larger users like San Jose Judo had to rent out a building to hold their practices and events. Many of the local San Jose Buddhist Church organizations were able to utilize other church buildings on campus, Tsudama said.

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The newly-renovated San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin Annex. photo by Todd Tsudama

“Unfortunately, several of the large events, like the CYS pancake breakfast, were canceled. Wesley Methodist Church was very gracious to open its doors and help us and the community out during the renovation, so several events and otoki (meal after a funeral or memorial service) were held there,” he said.

One church service was delivered both in the morning and in the evening in order to accommodate the expected large crowds.

Sakamoto added that the Day of Remembrance event, which is traditionally held in the annex, was moved to San Jose State University this year.

Tsudama noted that fundraising for the Generations campaign is continuing. A $10 million, five-year campaign, the Generations campaign began in 2013. For Phase I, the campaign has raised $4.7 million to date toward the $5.4 million goal. He said that this leaves a $700,000 gap.

Tsudama said the church aims to complete Phase I by Dec. 31, but it could extend the deadline if the church has yet to raise $700,000 by then.

“We are feverishly making calls, reaching out to our community supporters, Sangha and friends of the temple to donate so we don’t have to carry a loan,” he said, adding that there is no timeline yet for Phase II of the project.

“We anticipate it will take several years to raise the money needed to build Phase II,” he said.

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