House Committee

2020-21 Annual Report

My Brothers of the Valley of Chicago,

While 2020-21 has been a challenging year for many, and it has kept us away from congregating together at our Valley, your Board of Directors and House Committee have been working hard to improve our facilities and get them ready for everyone’s return.

It is hard to believe that on March 17 we began our 10th year in our “new” facilities in Bloomingdale. And like most of us, as our building and grounds put on a few years they require a little more attention. Since we used our facilities a lot less in 2020-21, it experienced less “wear and tear” and therefore required a lot less standard maintenance. But this past year we did need to address several more significant items. About three years ago the Board started talking about the need for long-term facility planning, and we created a capital improvement plan for the Valley that extended out 25 years. With that plan came a savings program that would bankroll anticipated costs for major maintenance, systems upgrades and replacements.

A few of our current and near-future planned projects include:
• Fixing / improving the concrete and masonry on our back patio
• A new asphalt overlay to our parking lot.
• Cleaning of the building exterior and resealing of the exterior limestone.
• Comprehensive landscaping improvements to enhance the look of our home from all views, inside and out.
• Restoring and displaying masonic artifacts within the building
• Replacing interior emergency lighting and upgrading light fixtures to LED in the Grand Hall
• Repainting of the Grand Hall
• Carpet replacement
• Exterior paver maintenance and replacement
• Kitchen equipment maintenance and replacement
• Stage rigging maintenance.

In addition to those planned projects noted above, a few impromptu projects also became important this year:
Covid prompted us to take a closer look at the general health of our indoor air and how we could make the environment safer for our staff and members. In January we added a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization air purification technology to our existing HVAC systems. In short the system cleans the air inside of the building by collecting fine particles such as dusts and molds, making them easier to trap in filters. It also kills pathogens, making the indoor air quality less able to sustain or transmit viruses.

As part of our patio renovation project, the Board decided to investigate the construction of a semi-enclosed structure on the patio deck that could be comfortably heated and used in the winter months. Similar to the temporary structures erected by many restaurants this past year, our enclosure will be a temporary enclosure but a permanent canopy. Final plans are being made in May and the hope is to have the structure erected late summer or early fall.

I would like to thank the members of our expanded House Committee that helped these improvements become reality this year. This larger group offered a diverse perspective on what should be done and how we should do it. I want to thank President Daryl Selock, Angelo Deserio, Antwane Lee, Bob Kogut, Chris Carter, Joel Jaffe, Al Paniagua and Dave Koss for their service to the House Committee. These projects would not have happened without their commitment to the Valley of Chicago.

We are excited that many of these projects have already begun and we are hopeful to have several completed this year. We look forward to reopening our building and seeing everyone soon, and trust everyone will enjoy the improvements being made to our Valley of Chicago home.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

Michael W. Behm,
House Committee Chair