Architect to initiate design phase

The initial design phase of a potential parish center project is under way with the selection of an architectural firm by the Pastoral Council at its September meeting.

GK Architectural Consulting of Eau Claire was selected after reviewing proposals from four architectural firms.  GK has been involved in several Catholic Church projects, including St. Olaf Church in Eau Claire, St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Newton, near Manitowoc, and ongoing projects in Chippewa Falls and Prescott.

The firm’s first step will be a review of existing parish facilities this month.  That will be followed by a meeting in early December with members of the Pastoral Council and a committee formed to guide this process.

As reported in the last issue of The Advocate, this process was prompted by recommendations from the Unification Facilities Committee.  That group reviewed all parish facilities and then considered various program and service needs.  The  committee’s recommendations, which were accepted by the Pastoral Council, include a gathering space for before- and after-Mass activities, including funeral visitation; a drop-off and pick-up area outside the church; a parish center with offices, meeting and program spaces; and possibly additional parking.

Those lofty and rather vague ideas will be addressed in greater detail by the architect and parishioners during the design phase.  Throughout the process, information will be provided to parishioners and input will be sought from the larger parish community.  The timeline as to when that input will be sought and when an initial proposal might be completed has not yet been determined.  A feasibility study would be pursued once specific details and cost estimates have been established, all of which would precede any final decision.

The parish center project committee includes Kris Burch; John Clifford, co-chair of the Finance Council; Kevin Czerwinski; John Krupka; Rick Zahn; Rick Letto, who will soon be ordained as a deacon and has been assigned to serve the parish; staff members Wendy Mitch and Bonnie Bauman; and Michele Miller and Erin Olson, who will be co-chairs of the process.  The Pastoral Council will continue to be engaged in the ongoing consultation.

As the process moves forward, information will be provided in newsletters and the bulletin.  If you have any questions, please contact one of the people listed above; a member of the Pastoral Council, whose names are listed on alternating weeks in the bulletin; or me.

Anticipating the centennial of the construction of our church, this project offers a significant opportunity to build upon the faith and dedication of our predecessors in anticipating what will best serve Holy Spirit Parish in the years ahead. TL