Parish Center Project

Facade

Current Developments

Township Supervisors
Approve Project

Living Stones Logo
Living Stones Logo

The parish plan to build additions to the Church and Religious Education Building took a giant step forward on Wednesday, March 8th, when the Northampton Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved our Conditional Use Application and preliminary land development application.

According to our professional advisors the township has permitted the parish to expand its building coverage and impervious surface limitations so that the new additions can be constructed. The board also allowed the parish to provide fewer parking spaces than the ordinance requires. These concessions on the part of the township were made as part of our Conditional Use Application.

Going forward we will have to obtain final land development approval. This formality requires our engineering firm to meet certain requirements — which the township's engineer will oversee and ultimately certify. This certificate will enable the parish to receive final approval and apply for building permits.

The Township Supervisors showed an understanding of the parish's vision to provide adequate and accessible facilities with limited acreage and financial resources. They approved the parish's three-phase proposal: 1) site development and the Parish Center; 2) four Pre-School classrooms added to the Religious Education Building; and 3) re-design of the Church basement. Our finances limit us to building Phase 1 at this time.

All are asked to pray for the success of this project: that it provides the infrastructure for our continuing efforts to build up the Kingdom of God within our parish and beyond.

History of the Project
Concept Drawing
July, 2001

In our Parish Newsletter for July 1, 2001, "Concept Drawings for a Parish Center" were presented to the parish as the fruit of several months' reflection by our Parish Pastoral Council. Then both the Council and our Finance Committee refined the concept and concluded that we should begin the steps necessary to make it a reality.

As first proposed, the Center was a stand-alone building which included: at ground level, a daily Mass chapel and a large multi-purpose room capable of being divided into two (about 125 persons each) with a kitchen serving both areas; and on the first floor offices, a conference room and a library or multi-media center. Both levels would be accessible without steps: the ground level from the parking lot; the first floor from the Hatboro Road side of the building.

Changes to our vision were made as a result of our reflection over that year, including: providing for a larger gathering space with access to the chapel and the multi-purpose room; adding storage areas for parish groups; and enlarging the size of the offices.

Needs Addressed by a Parish Center

A daily Mass chapel could provide us with: a truly accessible worship space; a more intimate experience for liturgies with smaller groups; energy savings by not heating or air-conditioning the Church, except for large groups; and options not now available: e.g. continuing Eucharistic adoration in the chapel when there is a funeral in Church.

The multi-purpose room(s) are primarily intended to provide space for a senior citizens group and for our youth groups, but would be available for other parish uses — e.g. it was our Early Childhood Learning Program teachers who suggested that the room include a stage.

The need for office space is immediate, since the Rectory cannot accommodate additional offices. Deacon Jack Golaszewski should have a place in which to meet with parishioners and do parish business; there are requests for a Youth Minister, but no place for a Youth Minister to do his or her work. As we see it, the need for office space will increase: this year there are 577 active priests in the Archdiocese; it is projected that in five years there will be 525 active priests. It is very possible that, in not too many years, we will be a larger parish with only one priest, and that will mean additional staff members, such as a Business Manager, so that the priest can concentrate solely on pastoral ministry.

A library or multi-media center was suggested by our Faith Sharing Ministry as a resource for the entire parish. Pastoral Council discussions led to a consensus that a true conference room in the proper proportions with audio-visual capability would be used by a number of parish organizations.

Archdiocesan
Permission
Sought
May, 2002

On May 13, 2002, Father McLaughlin wrote to Monsignor Joseph Cistone, Vicar for Administration, requesting permission to initiate a major Capital Campaign to raise funds for the purpose of building a Parish Center, and to construct the Parish Center. The Capital Campaign was registered as Project #2293, and the actual construction as Project #2294. Our proposal was forwarded to the Vicar for Bucks County and the Secretary for Temporal Services/CFO for review and recommendation.

Feasibility Study
October, 2002 -
April, 2003

Our first task was to identify a consulting company to conduct the Feasibility Study required by the Archdiocese. A Parish Center Sub-committee was established, composed of John Bauer and Marty Dell from the Parish Pastoral Council, Walt Donovan from the Parish Finance Committee, Father Brouwers as Parochial Vicar and Father McLaughlin as Pastor.

The committee was provided with a list of companies that have worked with other parishes in the Archdiocese, and from their printed materials and their WEB sites, four were selected for further study. Each of these four made a presentation to the sub-committee and submitted a formal proposal. Marty Dell structured the committee's selection process. In October, 2002, Kirby-Smith Associates, Inc., Quarryville, PA was selected to assist us, and our Kirby-Smith consultant was Bill Venditta.

In addition to a review of relevant financial and demographic records by Kirby-Smith Associates, the Feasibility Study involved analysis of the responses to a survey mailed to all parishioners, 45 personal interviews of parishioners conducted by Bill Venditta, and two Town Hall Meetings. The completed report arrived in April, 2003.

Feasibility Study Summary

The Parish Center Subcommittee of St. Vincent de Paul Church is commended for the effort, time, and labor that went into the development of your building plans and for the foresight to conduct a Feasibility Study to ensure all parishioners have an opportunity for input. KSA Services, Inc. was hired to partner with you to accomplish the Feasibility Study.

The ultimate objective of this study was to measure the support of the parishioners for the construction of a Parish Center to accommodate the growing ministry of the St. Vincent de Paul community.

The study shows a loyal parishioner base, who collectively make up a vibrant parish community that supports no less than thirty active ministries. It reflects a parish that has a high level of confidence and trust in the leadership of their pastor, are financially stable, and operate within a yearly budget. There is an atmosphere in the parish that, if asked, and explained, it will support and accomplish any challenge asked of it.

The majority of those surveyed indicated that they have a good knowledge of the vision of the parish leadership, which is to construct a new Parish Center, and that they are anxious to move forward with the project.

The study found that 75% of those interviewed would personally support a Capital Funds Campaign to raise the projected $2.5 million necessary for the completion of the project. This response rate is considered to be an excellent beginning point for a future campaign effort.

Drawing on the experience of many other parishes, an effective and successful Capital Funds Campaign results when there is strong participation by parishioners in the campaign process. We are happy to report that, in this study, 49% of those interviewed indicated that they would be willing to assist on a campaign committee. This certainly attests to your enthusiasm for the proposed project.

The financial support of the St. Vincent de Paul parishioners in a 3-year Capital Funds Campaign is estimated to be in the $1.2 to $1.5 million range. This figure is based on the estimated $1,165,000 identified in this study, as well as the parish yearly offertory amount of $750,263.

It is the recommendation of KSA Services, Inc., based on your results and our experience, that the parish should commit to fulfilling the vision of a new Parish Center. We feel that there is appreciable financial support for the project and that this Feasibility Study has validated the need to go forward with the planning process.

Architect
& Engineer
Selection
June, 2003 -
July, 2003

The Archdiocesan Capital Projects Office requires a preliminary drawing and cost estimate from an architect/engineering firm in conjunction with a favorable Feasibility Study report. The Parish Center Sub-committee, expanded with the addition of Deacon Jack Golaszewski, the Parish Business Manager, and Jim Smith, a parishioner and contractor, developed a "short list" of four firms from nine that had been recommended to the parish.

Representatives of four firms were interviewed by the Parish Center Sub-Committee, which reached consensus in selecting Martin A. DeSapio as the architect to develop preliminary plans and a cost estimate for our proposed Parish Center.

Architect
Helps
Expand
Vision

Following the selection of Martin A. DeSapio as the architect for our proposed Parish Center, on July 25, 2003, Deacon Jack Golaszewski and Father McLaughlin met with Mr. DeSapio and Paul Juliano, AIA to establish the needs identified by the parish to be addressed in the Parish Center, to review how the parish utilizes all of its current facilities, and to discuss long term construction goals and needs for the parish. The meeting included a tour of all the parish buildings.

With this information, seven architects within the DeSapio firm individually developed creative conceptual solutions to both our short-term and our long-term needs. Then, collectively, they distilled their ideas into five proposals which Mr. DeSapio and Mr. Juliano presented to the sub-committee members on Tuesday, August 26, 2003.

The architects led the sub-committee members in a discussion of the "complex" versus the "campus" approach. In a building complex, people can move from one area to another "under the same roof," while on a campus they move from one building to another. Our original proposal would move us in the direction of a parish campus, but as we discussed the issue, sub-committee members moved to a consensus in favor of the "complex" approach.

The site plan selected for further consideration locates the daily Mass chapel and the offices behind the present Church. An elevator would allow access to both the Church and the Church Hall. A separate expansion of the Religious Education Building would accommodate our Early Childhood Learning Program, and the entire Church basement would be remodeled for meeting rooms and an updated kitchen. Expansion of the parking lot is also included.

The Parish Center Sub-Committee's interaction with Martin DeSapio and Paul Juliano in the early fall of 2003, led to preliminary plans and cost estimates being submitted to the parish, the Archdiocesan Office for Property Services, and the Archdiocesan Building Committee in October, 2003. Concurrently, Madeline Janowski, a member of the Parish Finance Committee, prepared a seven-year financial projection which was submitted to the Archdiocesan Office for Parish Financial Services.

In November, 2003, the Office for Parish Financial Services suggested that the projected initial cost (for Phase 1) be reduced to ensure the parish's ability to finance the project. In December, 2003, the Martin A. DeSapio firm produced a revised proposal (with Phases 1a and 1b), and Madeline Janowski provided a revised financial projection.

The implementation phases as now proposed are:

  1. Phase 1
    1. site work (new parking, driveways, walkways, landscaping, site lighting), and the construction of an addition to the back of the Church to provide all-weather, handicapped access to the Church and the Church Hall, an indoor atrium or gathering space, offices, handicapped accessible bathrooms, and a conference room.
    2. add a daily Mass Chapel to the Parish Center.
  2. Phase 2
    add 4 Early Child Learning Program classrooms and offices to the Religious Education Building.
  3. Phase 3
    completely refurbish the present Church Hall and Pre-School classroms into meeting rooms and a social hall, and upgrade the present kitchen.

Capital Campaign
Approved
February, 2004

On February 17, 2004 we received Archdiocesan approval to engage in a Capital Campaign to raise funds in the amount of $1,200,000 for the purpose of building Phase 1a of the Parish Center Project. Again, we turned to Kirby-Smith Associates, Inc., Quarryville, PA for assistance, and Gene Musser, President of Kirby-Smith agreed to work with us.

The structure and logistics of a successful campaign were detailed by Gene Musser. Marty Dell accepted the role of General Chairperson of the Campaign Steering Committee; Deacon Jack Golaszewski was named Assistant General Chairperson. Subcommittee leadership and membership volunteers appeared quickly, and the Communications Subcommittee began developing the campaign literature. Parishioner Steve Cassidy agreed to oversee all printing without cost to the parish as part of his contribution to the campaign.

Literature began reaching our parishioners in July, 2004, with the official campaign kickoff set for September 12, 2004.

Township
Approval
March, 2006

The parish formally presented our Conditional Use Application and preliminary land development application to the Northampton Township Board of Supervisors on March 8, 2006. Following testimony by Father McLaughlin, our counsel, Bill Benz, Paul Juliano of Martin A. De Sapio, AIA, Jim Tambourino and Jodi Litus of Tri-State Engineers and Land Surveyors, Inc., and Joe DeSantis of McMahon Associates, our traffic engineers, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved our application.

This permitted the parish to expand its building coverage and impervious surface limitations so that the new additions can be constructed, and also allowed the parish to provide fewer parking spaces than the ordinance requires. Final land development approval requires our engineering firm to meet certain requirements — which the township's engineer will oversee and ultimately certify, after which we can apply for building permits.

The Township Supervisors showed an understanding of the parish's vision to provide adequate and accessible facilities with limited acreage and financial resources. They approved the parish's three-phase proposal: 1) site development and the Parish Center; 2) four Pre-School classrooms added to the Religious Education Building; and 3) re-design of the Church basement. Our finances limit us to building Phase 1 at this time.

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