For a century-old building, it’s probably no surprise that St. Joseph’s Catholic Church needs an update.
So in 2015 the church began to look into specific concerns about the condition of the building.
What has emerged from these discussions with parishioners is a plan for renovation and expansion that Fr. Mike Keucher has said meets many of these needs.
Keucher and Bryan Fischer, who chaired the committee that began considering what needed to be done, unveiled the renovation and construction plan after Saturday and Sunday weekend masses.
Moisture damage in the brick and walls inside needs to be repaired, Keucher said. The bricks were sanded forty years ago.
“It’s a big piece,” he said Thursday morning in a telephone interview.
The church was built from 1902 to 1908 and some of the brick is not in good condition, Fischer said. Much of the work will be done outside to preserve the interior.
But there will also be improvements to the interior, including a change of carpet and a new paint, Fischer said.
Bro. Keucher has been in Saint Joseph for four years and the parishioners could not be happier. Mass attendance has seen an increase as well as an increase in the number of youth groups, Fischer said. There is now a 24 hour worship chapel and Saint Vincent de Paul is “really strong”.
“The church is really flourishing right now,” he said. “There are just a lot of people, that’s what we want. We feel it’s time. “
The project, which Keucher says is expected to cost around $ 10 million, also includes building a staging area for members to meet before and after masses. This area could be used for tours.
“There are a lot of needs for that,” he said.
And that means creating a better parking system and new office space. The current office space is over 150 years old, he said, and there are leaks in this building.
“I think people are very excited,” he said. “All of this is necessary to continue our mission and we have just inherited a glorious church from our ancestors. I think people understand (the problems). They know there are needs. I think most people are pretty excited and ready to support this. This has been in the works for many years. It’s kind of like, let’s go ahead.
Plans also include updating the gymnasium used for basketball, volleyball, and other events. Currently there is no place to sit during games.
Keucher said the committee will meet with different members to see what details excite them and to get their financial support.
The feasibility study will take a few months, he said, after which they will see if they have reached their financial goal. If they haven’t, the committee will have to reassess what the priorities are.
If all goes well with the feasibility study, he said they could innovate within a year.