ROCKWELL | Design plans are being developed for a new Sacred Heart Parish Center to replace the one severely damaged in a fire nearly a year ago.
If all goes well, construction of the building should begin in April and be completed in late 2017, according to Brad Shupe, co-chairman of the building project committee along with Gary Weiner and Tim Nuehring.
"Wouldn't it be nice if it were done by Thanksgiving?" Shupe said.
The budget for the building, which will be stick-built but faced with brick, is $2.2 million.
The Archdiocese of Dubuque will contribute $1 million to the project. Insurance will cover the rest.
The old parish center building was constructed in the 1950s as the Sacred Heart Catholic School. The building was used as the parish center after the school closed in the 1970s.
The building, which is located next to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, was severely damaged by fire in January 2016. The parish groundskeeper, who lived in the former nuns' convent attached to the center, was not home when the fire broke out.
The new parish center will be attached to the church rather than being a separate building, Shupe said.
A round stained-glass window depicting Jesus and the Sacred Heart was salvaged after the fire. It will be relocated in the link between the new parish center and the church.
This window was part of the parish's original Catholic school building and then was moved to the new school that later became the parish center.
The new building will be 9,400 square feet, while the former parish center was 14,000 square feet.
However, the new parish center will be much more energy-efficient, Shupe said.
He said the goal for the new parish center was for it to serve as a gathering place not only for Sacred Heart parishioners but the community as a whole and to use it for religious education. That is how the former parish center was used, Shupe noted.
The new building will include "a very spacious and upgraded kitchen," a fellowship hall that seats 200 people, six classrooms for religious education and storage rooms, he said.
An awning will be placed at the north entrance so vehicles can drive underneath and drop people off or pick them up if it is raining.
A parking lot also will be built on the north side of the parish center so more offstreet parking will be available.
Waggoner & Wineinger Architects of Mason City will design the center. A request for construction bids will be sent out in February.
"It's been a lot of work but it's going to be for the good of the parish," Shupe said. "We're very proud of the communication that we have had with our parishioners."