On Wednesday about 30 parishioners gathered to identify and prioritize components of a possible parish center. The group included people who participated in the unification process two years ago, parish staff, and members of the Pastoral and Finance councils. The discussion didn’t start from scratch, since earlier consultation had identified specific needs and desires but it was intended to narrow the focus of a possible building project.
Those suggested needs and desires, shared in previous bulletins and newsletters, include a gathering space for before- and after-Mass activities, as well as funeral visitations; a parish center with staff offices, meeting and program facilities; a drop-off and pick-up area; and additional parking. What developed during this past week’s deliberations will be reviewed in a future bulletin.
Prior to considering what we might do in the future, the architectural consultant enlisted by the Pastoral Council, Gary Kucko of Eau Claire, conducted a thorough review of the existing church structure. Before you make plans to renovate or add-on you need to know what you’re starting with, Gary explained. The good news is that what Gary and his team of structural, electrical and plumbing engineers discovered is very positive. The nearly 100-year-old foundation and structure of the church building are good, he reported, as are the east-front and west-rear additions constructed after the original building in 1917. That’s a strong affirmation of our founding members who built the church and those who have been attentive to maintenance in the intervening years.
The engineers in their top-to-bottom review of the church did find some concerns with timber trusses in the roof structure and the electrical system that are already being addressed. Other issues, such as cracking and drainage issues in the parking lot, as well as the potential for more efficient lighting, heating and cooling in church will be addressed as part of the ongoing project.
A Firm Foundation is the theme of the 2017 centennial celebration of the church’s construction. What the building study concluded is that it’s not only a slogan, it’s a fact. TL