with photos (Photos were emailed as WordPress would not allow me to upload them)
by TaLeiza Calloway
Residents and passersby will soon see the glow of orange construction cones and fenced-off areas near the Church of St. Joseph. A building project that will add more gathering space to the church will begin Monday, Oct. 1.
The plan is for work to be completed by July 1. The project cost is about $1.8 million.
Sandy Scholz, business manager for the church, said there are four areas to what the church is calling its “Making Room at Our Table” building project. They are a gathering space or large entrance into the church, a restroom that will be accessible to all, a kitchen and a fellowship hall with the capacity to hold 250 people. The hope is the fellowship hall will be used for weddings or other family events. There are two steps leading to the bathroom now, hence the need for a more easily accessible one, she said.
“Right now our focus is on the gathering place and the restroom,” Scholz said. “If there is enough money left over, we’ll move forward with the other areas.”
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “It will give the parish more space for gathering and community building. This is what it’s all about.”
The church held a groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 23 to kick off the start of the upgrades.
Planning for the project is ongoing with several committees being formed to make plans a reality. A feasibility study was completed, and a capital campaign was launched by the church last year to help fund the project, Scholz said. Some of those dollars have already been received. With the success of the capital campaign and the approval of the Diocese of St. Cloud earlier this month, the parish finance council and the pastoral council decided to move the project ahead – a project that has been planned for about 30 years.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Steve Meyer, chair of the pastoral council. “It’s a blessing to see it finally happen.”
During construction, access to and from the church will not be limited. Parking will be limited to the lot along College Avenue. Parish staff are aware of this inconvenience and are making plans to possibly add shuttles for those who need assistance, Scholz said.
The work will also affect students at All Saints Academy. During construction, students will have recess on a grassy lot just west of the building. The Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict approved the use of that space during the expansion project.
The design of the new addition was done by Hagemeister and Mack Architects Inc. of St. Cloud. The general contractor for the project is Breitbach Construction Co. of Elrosa.