First in a Series of Articles
Feb 26, 2020
This is the first in a series of articles to update and inform the congregation of the renovation project for St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church.
Over the last twenty years, conversation has periodically surfaced in the parish regarding the renovation of our aging church. Several plans have been brought forward during those two decades and, for a number of reasons, have not been brought to fruition. The last renovation of our 160-year old church took place in the early 1970’s when the seating/sanctuary was rearranged, balcony seating was provided and the brick walls and beams were exposed. About three years ago, at the urging of the Pastoral and Finance Councils, we began a fresh look at our needs with the hope to begin a renovation project in the near future.
Since November 2016, several men and women have been meeting continuously to develop a plan that addresses our current needs and the future needs of our congregation as well as the liturgical guidelines of our Church. With the assistance of River Architects, a Lacrosse firm that specializes in renovation of old churches, and Kraemer Brothers Construction, the contractors that renovated the school, this dedicated group of men and women have put together a plan that will be presented to the parish in its entirety in the next several weeks.
After reviewing several options, in September of 2018, a plan was revealed to the parish at presentations after Mass. At that time, we solicited comments and concerns and addressed each of them as we revised the plan. All these efforts were closely monitored and supported by both the Pastoral and Finance Councils. We also sought input from various groups and organizations within the parish. Over the past year, the plan has been revised somewhat to help lower the costs, address as many of your concerns as we possibly could and still remain faithful to the initial expressed needs.
We have also periodically sought the support and direction of the Diocese of Madison, as is necessary for such a major project. Both Bishop Morlino (prior to his death) and Bishop Hying offered their support and encouragement to continue. Kraemer Brothers and River Architects continue to work closely with the Renovation Committee as the design is detailed to minimize the cost and anticipate any complications that often arise whenever a building of this age is renovated.
It is the consensus of the Pastoral Council (and the recommendation of staff and other parish leaders) that we commence an informational series of announcements to bring the congregation up to speed in regard to the renovation project at St. Mary’s of the Immaculate Conception. A weekly column will appear in the bulletin and will be presented on the parish website and Facebook throughout the next couple of months. A four-minute presentation will also be offered BEFORE each weekend Mass on those weekends to expand on the informational provided in this column.
Thank you for your patience and your support as we continue to develop both the building and the financial plan necessary for the success of this project. The hopeful “shovel-in-the-ground” date is June 1, 2020 but many pieces have to fall into place before that happens.