For a building that is a century old, it is probably no surprise that St. Joseph Catholic Church is in need of an update.
So in 2015, the church started looking into specific concerns about the building’s condition.
What came from those discussions with parishioners is a remodeling and expansion plan that Fr. Mike Keucher said addresses many of those needs.
Keucher and Bryan Fischer, who chaired the committee that began looking into what needed to be done, unveiled the renovation and construction project after the Saturday and Sunday Masses over the weekend.
Moisture damage in the brick and walls inside are in need of repair, Keucher said. The bricks were sandblasted some 40 years ago.
“That’s a big piece of it,” he said Thursday morning in a phone interview.
The church was built from 1902-1908 and some of the brick is not in good shape, Fischer said. A lot of the work will be on the outside to preserve the inside.
But there will be upgrades on the inside as well, including changing the carpet and giving a fresh paint job, Fischer said.
Fr. Keucher has been at St. Joseph for four years and parishioners couldn’t be happier. Mass attendance has seen an increase as well as an increase in youth group numbers., Fischer said. There is now a 24-hour adoration chapel available and St. Vincent de Paul has “really come on strong.”
“The church is really thriving right now,” he said. “There’s just a lot of people which is what we want. We feel like now is the time.”
The project, which Keucher said is expected to cost around $10 million, also includes building a gathering area for members to get together before and after Masses. That area could be used for viewings.
“There’s lots of needs for that,” he said.
And it involves creating a better parking system and new office space. The current office space is more than 150 years old, he said, and has leaks in that building.
“I think people are very excited,” he said. “This is all necessary in order to continue our mission and we just inherited from our ancestors a glorious church. I think people understand (the issues). They know there are needs. I think most people are quite excited and ready to get behind this. This has been in the works for many years. It’s kind of like, lets move forward.”
The plans also include updating the gymnasium used for basketball, volleyball and other events. Currently, there is no space for seating during games.
Keucher said the committee will meet with different members to see what specifics excite them and to gain their financial support.
The feasibility study will take a few months, he said, after which, they will see if they’ve reached their financial goal. If they have not, the committee will need to reevaluate what the priorities are.
If all goes well with the feasibility study, he said they could break ground within a year.