Renewing Visitation

As you may remember, last September, our Parish Pastoral Council, through town hall meetings and online questionnaires, identified 5  areas in our Visitation Community where we were most in need of growth.

1). Communication and Marketing, 2)  Spiritual Development and Parish Ministries, 3)  Social and Community Building and 4)  Facilities Improvement, 5)  Youth and Young Families.

I am, and hope you are, pleased and benefiting from the adult education initiatives, our increased social outreach, the ongoing efforts to reach out to the youth, to name a few that have begun in this past year. Included in that list is the need to repair various buildings on our campus, toward which we are starting our RENEW VISITATION campaign. It has already begun in remodeling the church restrooms. We now are beginning the largest reconstruction project at Visitation in the last 10+ years.

This project will include the following elements: complete demo and rebuilding of the boys and girls bathrooms in the main elementary building, a remodel of the faculty bathroom (including adding another toilet), remodeling the teachers lounge, school entrance and principal’s office, and building a new faculty restroom in the junior high building. For those who may not know, currently there is only one restroom for adults and we have 30  staff members, which makes for an “interesting” situation every day for our teachers. The children’s restrooms are in terrible condition: windows are warped open, the grouting is putrid, stall doors cannot close. Repair is urgent. The cost for this project increased significantly from the original estimate that we were give by archdiocesan engineers of $121,253.00  to its current cost of $380,000.00.

The reason for this dramatic increase is as follows; we initially were encouraged to avoid obtaining city permits, and to do the work on the side. Uncertain of such advice, we put together an advisory board made up of parishioners who have good expertise in construction; Tim Leigh, Tom Hughes and Mike Rotolo. ( I am so grateful to all these men for their hours of work for our parish). They recommended that we do things the right way: hire an architect, obtain city permits, and accept all that that entails. As can be imagined, one piece of work cascaded into another. Redoing the restrooms meant ADA compliance, which meant floor and ceiling tile removal and asbestos abatement. The removal led into the necessary reconstruction of the faculty lounge, the school front entrance and principal’s office.

The costs are as follows: Construction: $284,900 . Abatement: $17,000 . Architect fees: $35,410 . 15%  Contingency: $42,700 . The archdiocese insists on this contingency fee for all major construction projects. (There are a lot of unknowns when you open up the walls and pipes in a really old building.) All permits are in place and the architect, contractor, timeline, etc. and construction will actually being the very day after school concludes, June 11 . We have sufficient monies on hand to complete the project. The sources are Fundraising: (Carnival, LV Night Golf Tournament/private donations: $268,673 . School Investment Pool Income $2,000 . Parish Renewal Fund: $62,229.  Church Surplus Fund: $50,000.

All the expenses and funding sources have been discussed with the Parish Finance Council who have given their approval for all of the above. We hope not to have to dip into that Church Surplus Fund, but that will be determined by what develop as we proceed with the project. One last, important thing. One might wonder why “parish” monies go to a “school building project. There is always a temptation to divide Visitation into one (or more) camps. “The school is over there, the parish Sunday crowd is over here, the Religious Ed children are over there, the Confirmation youth are over here…) and so on. This is exactly what we are not. We are ONE parish, ONE community. The school gives life to the “church” and visa versa.

From RE & Viz school emerges our youth and Confirmation program. Many of our parish programs use the school buildings and our school uses various other facilities. One nourishes the other and is nourished in return. We all contribute to this as we all belong to Visitation.

Fr. Jim