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In 2009, we launched the “We Must, We Can, We Will” capital campaign to complete Phase I of our Master Plan for facilities. Through the generosity of our parishioners, we were able to complete some significant planned improvements to our parish infrastructure and to our buildings and grounds:
- Our school received air conditioning, asbestos abatement, renovated bathrooms, security upgrades and a new playground with landscaping and fencing.
- Our Parish Center cafeteria received painting and a new ceiling, and the gym a new heating unit, new lighting and a roof repair.
- Our church, too, received new lights and some needed maintenance.
As we neared the end of our first campaign in 2012, we learned we needed to replace our church roof, and did so even as we began planning for our 2nd campaign, “Future Generations Now.” Our goal for that campaign was to raise the funds needed to complete Phase II of our Master Plan. While we didn’t raise what we had hoped, we were able to, in addition to the church roof, replace the sound system and lighting controls in the church.
Today, we remain focused on completing Phase II of our Master Plan and addressing the following remaining needs:
The Need to Make Our Buildings More Welcoming and Accessible
We don’t have a space adequate for encouraging and offering hospitality to members and visitors or for giving people an opportunity to get to know each other better before or after Masses. And many of our buildings or parts of them remain inaccessible to anyone physically challenged.
- We have a lobby-like vestibule in the front of our church, but it is small and quickly gets congested when people gather there. More recently, because the Highway 159 expansion eliminated parking in front of our church, we can’t use the front doors for funerals or weddings. Most people now enter and leave the church from one side or the other. None of these entrances to the church offers a good drop-off area. And with very few handicap-parking spaces nearby, getting to and from the church has become more challenging for some of our older members. Using multiple entrances also doesn’t help build community as people come and go their separate ways.
- The basement of the church is accessible only by stairs, rendering the three meeting rooms located there unusable for any activity in which someone elderly or handicapped would want or need to participate.
- The gym and the cafeteria in the Parish Center are not handicap accessible, nor are they connected to the church. This limits who can participate in activities there and also makes them a poor choice for many types of parish gatherings and for offering hospitality after Mass.
The Need for an Accessible Fellowship Hall
A fellowship hall suitable for funeral gatherings, wedding receptions and other parish ministry and social functions was a critical need identified in our Master Plan. Neither the gym nor the cafeteria offer the space or the atmosphere suitable for these types of activities.
The Need for a New Parish Office
Our Parish Office was located in a building that needed significant renovation to be compatible with today’s technology and security standards and to enable a more accessible and effective office environment. However, the building’s design and the asbestos materials used to construct it made renovating it a very expensive proposition, and the resulting offices would still be inefficient and lack the necessary security features required in today’s world.
The Need to Upgrade Our Church Interior
Our church interior is also in need of some improvements to make it more energy efficient, attractive, and in line with current standards for church design.
- We’ve replaced the roof, but signs of the previous water damage are still evident and need painting. In fact, the entire interior of the church hasn’t been painted in 30 years and needs to be refreshed.
- Church doors that open to the outside were designed and installed long before energy efficiency was an economic or environmental concern. Their inefficiencies negatively impact both the comfort of worshipers and our utility bills.
- We have a hot tub for a Baptismal font. While it’s certainly effective in helping to get the job done, it reflects neither the sanctity nor the mystery of this holy rite of initiation into Christ’s holy Church.
- Like the Baptismal font, the Ambo doesn’t appropriately reflect its important role in Catholic liturgy.
- To conform with current liturgical design, our altar railing needs to be modified so as not to stand as a visual barrier between the congregation and the altar.
Other Facility Needs
- Besides being inaccessible, our gym lacks air-conditioning and therefore doesn’t get used at all in the summer time. It also needs a new sound system. Combined, these limit our ability to offer our parish and community a comfortable space for casual fellowship events or summertime sports activities.
- Having adequate parking has become more of a challenge with the expansion of Highway 159 and needs to be addressed.
To address these needs, our Master Plan committee put together an exciting plan for Phase II and beyond that includes:
- An expansive addition to hold a gathering place, new parish offices, and a fellowship hall;
- Renovated meeting rooms and restrooms on the church’s lower level, with elevator access;
- Repairs, upgrades and liturgical improvements to our church interior;
- Upgrades to our Parish Center gym; and
- Expanded parking between the church and the Parish Center.
New Church Addition for The Gathering Place, Parish Office and Fellowship Hall
On April 24, we broke ground for a new addition to our church that will replace our courtyard and our irreparable office building with a new Gathering Space, Parish Office and Fellowship Hall.
- A large Gathering Space will be positioned along the south wall of our church, and we’ll open a section of that wall to provide a wide doorway between the two spaces. The Gathering Space will provide a large area connected to the church for before and after Mass functions and other activities. A small kitchen area for serving light snacks and beverages will help us offer a warm welcome to visitors and encourage members to visit and connect after Mass, and handicap accessible restrooms will better accommodate the needs of guests and parishioners.
- We’ll locate the Parish Office adjacent to the west end of the gathering space. A lobby and reception area, conference room, and an open office design will maximize space, improve productivity, and reduce energy costs. Its highly visible location will make the space accommodating for parishioners, visitors and staff, as well as allow us to staff the office during weekend Masses.
- The south end of the Gathering Space will meet a vestibule leading to a covered entry and circular drive, making it easy to drop-off and pick up family members before and after Mass and other parish activities.
- Because we’re demolishing the old office building, we’ll excavate below it and create space for an expansive Fellowship Hall: a large multi-purpose room with seating for up to 250. It will include a large catering kitchen, serving counter, ADA restrooms and storage. This new space will offer an attractive and inviting atmosphere for funeral gatherings, wedding receptions, and other parish ministry and social functions.
- An elevator will be installed on the southwest corner of our church, giving everyone access to the upper and lower levels of our church and the new addition.
Upgrades and Repairs to Church Interior and Basement
To complement our new addition, we’ll make a number of upgrades to our church that will improve its functionality, accessibility, attractiveness, and energy efficiency.
- With the new elevator, the lower level rooms in the church will be accessible to accommodate meeting space, a Bride’s Room and the Nursery. We’ll “freshen them up” and also upgrade the restrooms located there, making them more accessible and welcoming.
- On the upper level, the church interior will get needed repairs and updating of liturgical fitments. We’ll repair and repaint the walls and ceiling as needed to remove unsightly water damage. To improve energy efficiency, we’ll weatherproof the east doors, and replace other entrance doors with those that are more energy efficient. And with our worship space being be impacted by construction, we’ll take this opportunity to upgrade to a “real” Baptismal font and install a permanent Ambo.
Upgrades to the Parish Center Gym
To complete our goal of making our facilities more attractive, welcoming, accessible and convenient for our parishioners and visitors, we plan to make the Parish Center gym more accessible and usable year round.
- We’ll modify the entrance to the gym with a ramp that will allow anyone handicapped to have access.
- Finally, we’ll equip the gym with air-conditioning, enabling us to use it year-round for sports, social, and fundraising activities.
- To improve parking for parishioners, we’ll use the new traffic flow imposed by the Highway 159 expansion on the north side of the church and change parallel parking to diagonal parking, almost doubling the number of parking spaces there.
- The parking lot on the south side will be realigned and new striping and new surrounding fencing will be installed to beautify our campus.