Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding Facilities that were raised at the parish-wide LRP presentations. The questions are listed first, then the questions with answers follow.
- What are our plans to update the St. Joseph campus? What repairs would need to be done there, and how much would it cost?
- Wasn’t St. John’s supposed to be the receiving parish when the merger began?
- Shouldn’t the architecture of the St. John campus impact the decision to close it?
1) What are our plans to update the St. Joseph campus? What repairs would need to be done there, and how much would it cost?
Over the past year, the Long-Range Planning task force identified a number of challenges with consolidating to either of our two campuses. At the LRP presentations in September, parishioners offered many additional questions and suggestions. At Father Paul’s request, Bill Clemen (one of our two trustees) assembled an "Exploratory Renovations Committee" tasked with investigating the key challenges of consolidating to the St. Joseph campus and proposing solutions in case the consolidation moves forward. Seven parishioners have come together to form this committee; they are looking into both new construction as well as improvements to existing buildings. Here are their initial findings:
First, certain necessary things are missing at the St. Joseph campus, which require construction of a new building:
1. Office space: a single area for all staff offices and related rooms
2. Religious Education/Faith Formation space and classrooms
3. Gathering space to facilitate fellowship (cp. St. John’s community room)
Second, many renovations to the existing buildings are desirable, including (but not limited to):
1. Improving the accessibility of the church from the outside (entryways) as well as from within (confessionals, access to the altar, etc.).
2. Updating the church: new floor, new lighting, new sound system, re-spacing the pews.
3. Creating a choir room for rehearsal, instrument storage and library.
4. Improving the sightlines to the altar.
5. Identifying a proper space for the nursery and a bride's room.
6. Refreshing/moving the cry room.
Other questions that arose include:
1. How will the rectory be used?
2. Can we move the adoration chapel?
A contractor has begun evaluating construction of a new office building and improvements to address accessibility. It appears we have two possible locations to construct a two-level building to meet our space needs. The first location is the grassy area between the church and the school. The second option is on the northwest corner of the parking lot next to the American Legion. Each of these locations has pros and cons.
We expect an initial response from the contractor by December 3rd regarding their opinions on the project (what options are possible; what might be very challenging and/or very expensive). The contractor can then begin working on preliminary budget numbers.
Our goal is to have a proposal for new construction and existing building renovations with preliminary budget numbers ready to be shared with parishioners in January 2022, before final discernment is reached. In the meantime, parishioners are welcome to share ideas and suggestions about the possible renovations and construction at the St. Joseph campus. Please use the feedback form, which you can find here.
When parishes merge, canon law requires that one of the original parishes be designated as the receiving parish. However, this designation does not have any bearing on future decisions, nor does it imply that the receiving parish was stronger, financially or otherwise. Thus, even before the merger plan was announced, the combined parish council acknowledged that the merger of St. John and St. Joseph was a merger of equals. In short, this question is irrelevant.
3. Shouldn’t the architecture of the St. John campus impact the decision to close it?
The St. John campus church won several architectural awards for its attempt
to embody the liturgical principles of the Second Vatican Council. The LRP task
force found the church’s historical significance and style, as well as the love
that many faithful parishioners feel for it, to be a significant factor in the
discussions regarding consolidation. However, taking into account St. Gabriel’s
overall situation, the task force was unanimous in preferring consolidation to
the St. Joseph campus over the St. John campus due to factors such as location,
facilities, and ministry partners.
If we consolidate to the St. Joseph campus but keep the St. John’s property for other purposes, then either we would fail to solve our financial issues, or we would have to use income from the property to fund ordinary operations, which violates fiscal best practices. Thus, maintaining the St. John church does not seem tenable.
Consideration was given to adding the St. John church to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), but this designation would not help to improve St. Gabriel’s situation. First, it would diminish the value and desirability of the St. John campus to a prospective buyer due to the restrictions attached to buildings on the NRHP. Second, keeping the church would require ongoing involvement from St. Gabriel’s, which would continue to stretch staff and resources thin rather than assisting us in fulfilling our mission.