After years of planning and fundraising Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on Lyons Avenue is “On the Way.”
Church clergy, students, staff and construction contractors gathered at the corner of Arcadia Street and Lyons Avenue Monday afternoon in a colorful ceremony that kickstarted the renovation of what will soon be the church’s new pastoral center.
“It’s a way of blessing the start of the new construction,” said Monsignor Richard Martini.
The new pastoral center is being constructed in an 8,200 sq. ft. building on the northeast corner of Arcadia Street and Lyons Avenue. The property was formally used by OLPH as a religious education classroom and has a history rich in prayer. In the past it has been used as both a Jewish Synagogue and a Protestant church – at different times.
According to Martini the building was damaged in a rain storm about five or six years ago and has been unusable since.
Construction crews have already begun planning and identifying potential hazards for the complete renovation.
“Essentially it’ll be a whole new building,” said Albert Giacomazzi, President, AMG & Associates Inc.
“All of the drywall has been completely removed. It’s going to be seismically upgraded and then there’s going to be all new finishes such as flooring and cabinets,” Giacomazzi said.
The renovation is scheduled for completion in July 2012.
Project Superintendent Grant Crandall says it’s a tight deadline which leaves no room for mistakes.
“There’s a lot of pre-planning going on,” said Crandall.
He and the AMG & Associates Inc. team are now focused on the demolition stage of the project.
“Over the next few weeks there will be a lot of activity starting to happen,” said Giacomazzi .
On Tuesday temporary fencing will be installed around the construction site. A trailer and temporary power will be brought in later this week.
The project is the first step in a series of big changes planned for OLPH.
“We say that we’re ‘On the Way’ because in the end we hope to build a beautiful new church on our campus,” said Martini.
“In order to do that we have seven steps along the way. This is the beginning of step number one.”
Martini said the first seven steps have a price tag of $4 million.
After the renovation of the new pastoral center is complete, the current pastoral center will be refurbished into a residence for the church’s priests and nuns.
“We hope that we’ll have the new pastoral center, the new parking lot, the new residences for the priests and the sisters, even some brand new storage within the next two years,” said Martini. “Then focus on this beautiful new church.”
The new church is planned to be constructed on several parcels of land along Arcadia Street. Fundraising for its construction began more than five years ago under the leadership of a previous administration. That administration purchased all of the land parcels along Arcadia Street spanning from the south border of Hart High School to the existing set buildings on Lyons Avenue that are home to Dr. Barbakow ‘s Orthodontics and several other businesses.
“What we really want to do is be a part of this wonderful Lyons Avenue Corridor,” said Martini.
“The whole city is very anxious, bit by bit, to put in three different kinds of architecture. The new library is one of the architectural styles, a Victorian style. And we want to be the Mission Revival style and be one of the anchors of the whole Lyons Corridor.”