Parish Town Hall Meeting on Proposed Building Addition
By Leo Wozniak
Members of the parish had an opportunity this past May to get a better sense of what’s in store for the newest building addition that is being planned for our St. Thomas More campus.
Still on the drawing board, the proposed building and how it would look was explained to those attending a town hall-type meeting on Sunday, May 21st in the church hall. The parishioners were able to meet and hear firsthand details from the architect of the project, Vincent Di Bella.
Di Bella is with Adaptive Architects of Mesa. Actual construction of the project will be accomplished by Hansen Group Construction Management of Glendale.
Why is the new building needed when we just opened a new hall? As Fr. Jim Turner explained, “Even with the recent addition of the hall and its meeting rooms, the facility has begun to be impacted.”
“All of our meeting areas are often booked completely from Sunday through Thursday.”
The new building will be connected to the current parish offices. The new addition is being designed, as Di Bella explained, “to look like it always has been there.”
While the walkway near the building will be slightly rerouted, the buildings location was chosen so it won’t interfere with current facilities such as pathways and parking spaces, which are already severely limited.
The new building will be two stories high with an elevator so that all parishioners will be able to use the large meeting rooms that are planned for the second floor. In addition to these rooms the building design includes six offices and two smaller meeting rooms.
Fr. Jim explained that there was a safety factor, since the new offices there wouldn’t be near the main office.
He also reminded everyone that the “dirt” area that borders the parish grounds is still owned by the Diocese of Phoenix and not by the parish.
Fr. Jim explained that although the project is expected to cost nearly two million dollars, the parish has approximately half that amount in savings. He explained that after the mortgage on the parish was paid off, money was set aside for this upcoming project.
He explained that there would not be a capital campaign for the building project. Instead, he looked forward to parish families using the Building Fund envelopes they receive in their offertory package.
Current expectations are that the building project will take from six to eight months. However, both Di Bella and Fr. Jim cautioned that there are always issues with building permits and there is a current problem of getting subcontractors to fit a proposed construction time line.
But Fr. Jim said he looked forward to the new building being complete by the fall of 2018.