Eighth in a Series of Articles
Feb 26, 2020
This is the eighth in a series of articles to update and inform the congregation of the renovation project for St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church.
A few other considerations of this project may appear to be less of a priority but remain essential for the overall success of this project.
- A major component of the project is the lower level of the church addition. Directly beneath the Gathering Space is a dedicated dining/meeting room which will seat about 100 people. This room will have a kitchen so it will serve both as a dining room for funeral dinners and as a hall for parish events. This room will also provide a place for the children to gather for Liturgy of the Word for Children on Sundays, an area for choirs to warm-up before Mass, a room for Adult Formation courses as well as providing a place to host community events. Additional restrooms and most of the mechanical systems (electrical, heating/AC and plumbing) will be located in the lower level.
- Rectory - The current rectory is a wood frame building that was built about 120 years ago which once served as the residence for three priests as well as the parish offices. Today all the offices are located in the former convent and the house serves as the residence for one priest, the pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Mary Help of Christians Parishes. It has not been structurally updated or adequately maintained: the roof needs major repair, all the windows need to be replaced, the electrical and plumbing systems are dated and it is poorly insulated. After consulting with the architects and several contractors it is the consensus of all that we should explore other options. It is far more prudent to purchase a small home or condo off-site than to repair the rectory that is over-sized and in need of costly repair. Further, as we are land-locked, we need the site of the rectory as a staging area during construction.
After construction that area will be used to create much needed parking for the church and as safe, off-street parking for the parish offices. A smaller garage/storage building will also be erected in that area for lawn equipment, Best Fest Storage, etc.
- Another critical decision to be made is where we will gather for liturgies during the months of construction. Gathering as a community of faith to celebrate the Eucharist and other sacraments, weddings and funerals will be essential if we are to continue to grow as Church, as people of faith and as a parish. We have explored several different possibilities in the community and will hopefully secure a place very soon.
“Why not just use the school gym? That’s what we did in the 70’s during the remodeling.” This option has been explored in depth. Initially, it sounded like a good idea, until we started exploring the complications and limitations. There are many events in the school gym- sporting events for boys and girls, parish events like Trivia Night, programs for school and Faith Formation. It would also be necessary to multiply Masses because of the limitation of space. With one priest shared between two parishes it would be virtually impossible to accommodate the schedule.
In conclusion, the Renovation Committee has worked for over three years to create a plan that is complete, feasible and meets the needs of our parish today and future generations.