As spring comes in, Islamic Center of Maryland (ICM) gardeners will be seen reseeding the green area at the back of the current building in Gaithersburg, MD readying it for summer picnic and games. All landscaping, part of this phase of the project, is in the ground.
ICM completed the Land Development and Stormwater Management (SWM) work at a cost of $1.9 million, as required by county regulations. The work started in June of 2013. “County approval is pending, but the work itself has finished,” says Nadeem Ahmad, Project Manager and Trustee in charge of implementation of the master plan.
In parallel, ICM is also working on the building design, which was submitted in February 2013, and has gone through several cycle of reviews, to secure the building permit for ICM Islamic School, Youth and Community Center – a 45000 square feet facility.
The architect Najah Abdallah, is the design authority and Ahmad serves in a volunteer capacity as a liaison between the center and the department.
Electrical and mechanical components of the plan are approved by the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services and architectural and structural plans have minor issues that need resolution. Ahmad hopes to have these resolves by next month.
The newly built parking lots and roads are operational and open for use; connected to the Church of the Redeemer (COR) parking lot. This interfaith parking lot will facilitate convenient and expanded parking for both ICM and COR.
The next phase after obtaining the permit is getting estimates. “We still have to go through formal estimation of hired services,” shares Ahmad. Based a general estimate the center could cost seven to nine million dollars for the 45,000 sq ft building. “We currently need a couple million dollars to proceed with proposal of bids. A gymnasium, commercial kitchen, library, health clinic, food bank, daycare, conference hall and media room will also be included in the plan. The new building will allow ICM to accommodate the growing congregation and serve the needs of the community.
ICM has more than a million dollars in reserves but hopes to raise more. Planning to break ground by the summer of 2014. “We don’t want to delay the breaking ground, we really hope to start the construction by 3rd quarter,” comments Ahmad.
The next fundraiser will be in the early spring- the goal being $3 Million to start construction. The fundraising committee is headed by Iqbal Yousuf. Discussion about a fundraising plan and and strategy for unconventional fundraising are on the burner. “ We were waiting for building plans to mature. With a [permit] in hand we can approach sources that actually work with funding- Qarz e hasna or grants,” says Ahmad. Not limiting themselves, the center plans to approach everyone.
ICM is also pre planning investment in human resources and services once the center is built. “There is an entire master plan that was made in 1999,” says Ahmad. The leadership wants to maintain a balance of the ICM brand while creating a facility that provides a structure for organizations who are already leaders in their services. These organizations can run their programs in the new center, as opposed to ICM duplicating services provided elsewhere.
“We are looking for providing services in professional way which benefits the ICM community while reducing our operational costs,” Ahmad shares a hand and glove vision for the Muslims of Gaithersburg and Montgomery County.