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Capital Campaign Update

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Most of you likely know Don Lewis as a friendly face from Pew Pals, parish council, facilities committee, or the countless other ministries and social events that he’s helped with over the years. We sat down with Don to talk about the capital campaign, the parish’s past projects, and the future at Sacred Heart. 

One thing to remember about Don is that, though he’s been retired 20 years, he’s never stopped over-seeing projects. Over the years, Sacred Heart has seen its share of tuckpointing efforts, and Don has been the “sidewalk superintendent” for many of them. You may have seen him up in the lifts, observing the work and helping with measurements from small patch jobs to re-sealing nearly half the church. The tuckpointing included in the capital campaign truly finishes the job, helping the parish to avoid additional tuckpointing which may cause interior damage.

Another project he’s happy to see to completion is the protection of our stained glass windows. About fifteen years ago, they were appraised at a value in excess of $3 million. Their evaluation was part of a campaign to perform emergency repairs on the majority of windows that were in danger. “This campaign,” Don explains, “is for restoration that will last a lifetime. Once professionally restored, the windows will be virtually maintenance free up to 100 years.”

As with tuckpointing, Don was heavily involved in the last window restoration project and saw the true workmanship and artistry that goes into protecting and restoring these windows. Each panel is deconstructed underwater for protection, each individual pane of glass is polished, protected, and restored, and the re-leading is reapplied by hand, by artisans who have been working at their craft for over 20 years. Don says “If you think the windows are beautiful now, just wait. When the restoration is done, they’ll glow - the colors will be so much brighter.”

 If you’ve attended Fr. Mark’s Epiphany Party in past years, you may have taken a stroll around the parish rectory. What you likely didn’t see was the cost that goes into maintaining the space - according to Don, it’s much larger than what our parish needs, and “old windows, a leaky roof, and an antiquated heating system” makes it a maintenance nightmare and replacing the rectory a must.

But a smaller rectory makes room for what our parish needs most: a gathering space for community. Culemans Hall is a great resource, but “we’re lucky if 30% of people at a Mass are willing to walk across a parking lot to visit with one another,” says Don. The current accessible entrance to the church is a steep ramp exposed to the elements, and the main entrance has many stairs. Before the capital campaign began, Don and the Facilities Committee had an architect walk the property and sit down with parish leaders to discuss our needs. 

Their conclusion? We can build in the footprint that we already have, while keeping the parking lot and playground, and adding the amenities that we need. The plans to the new addition includes not only an accessible entrance and a gathering space, but accessible restrooms for everyone along with changing stations, a new Blessings gift shop, a bride’s room, and a small service kitchen for other parish events.