We have some important news to share with you about a major new undertaking — an extensive preservation project to protect our International Headquarters Building on Mt. Washington in Los Angeles. Because this project may affect the plans of many of you over the next few years, we wanted to let you know about it now — and especially to ask the prayers and positive thoughts of all of you as we begin.
An icon of the worldwide spiritual work founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, this structure is regarded as among the most sacred places on earth by followers of the great Guru — who lived, worked, and communed with God here for more than 25 years, and who disseminated from this building the liberating science of Kriya Yoga to all parts of the globe. Because of its long association with the work of Self-Realization Fellowship and its world-renowned founder, the building was officially designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the city in 2006.
The four-story building was originally constructed about 100 years ago. Despite continuous loving care over the decades — with the Guru's own hands in the early years, and continued by the close disciples to whom he entrusted his material and spiritual legacy — the building requires major "retrofitting" of its foundation and support structure to preserve it intact for future generations. (Situated in an active earthquake zone, the building has sustained structural damage from repeated earthquake shocks over its nearly 100-year span.)
At the request of SRF President Sri Daya Mata, a team of senior monastics and dedicated professional lay members has been working on the planning, funding, and execution of this far-reaching and very expensive undertaking. Additionally, one of the most respected firms specializing in renovation of historic buildings in southern California, Pfeiffer Partners Architects, has been retained to oversee the project. Among their recent accomplishments are the renovation of the famous Griffith Observatory and the Los Angeles Central Library.
We hope that the actual structural work on the International Headquarters Building will begin sometime in 2009. Before it can even start, however, a host of related issues must be addressed. For example: Since the building must be completely vacated for about two years during the retrofitting, additional housing must be acquired for the monastics who reside there. The many offices and departments in the building also have to be relocated — some permanently. This will require a significant expansion of office space at our Publications Center at the foot of Mt. Washington, which, in turn, has necessitated moving the shipping and warehouse operations currently at the Publications Center to a new facility nearby. Because the International Headquarters Building is the very hub of our worldwide work, having it closed for so many months is indeed complex! When all is said and done, there will be few areas in SRF that are not affected by this project in some way.
In giving the go-ahead for this long-hoped-for project, Sri Daya Mata and the other senior disciples on our Board of Directors wanted to be certain that we could assure all of you that the spiritual services you expect from Guruji's society will continue uninterruptedly. In particular: