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On Saturday, December 15, Fr. Arnaud Rostand, SSPX US District Superior and Fr. Gerard Beck gathered the New Immaculata Building Committee and some parishioners for an update meeting on the new church project. Fr. Beck opened by affirming the need that St. Mary’s has for a new church and the support which the project enjoys from Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX Superior General and Fr. Rostand.

Isaac Moats, Development Director, presented Schwerdt Design Group’s final conceptual drawings and summarized the monies raised and spent to date.

Fr. Beck then presented the current financial status of the Academy and the College and listed some of the major capital projects which need to be undertaken during the coming school year. Father stressed the importance of maintaining campus infrastructure and keeping the schools running while still budgeting and fundraising for the New Immaculata project.

Fr. Rostand then led a discussion on “the way forward” – balancing the needs of the schools with the New Immaculata fundraising campaign. Conclusions drawn:

• In upcoming months, Fr. Beck will begin publishing an occasional “parish financial snapshot” to allow parishioners to see how the campus as a whole is faring financially. This snapshot should allow the entire parish to take ownership of campus issues, encouraging and engaging the parish in the works of the SSPX at St. Mary’s.

• Fundraising must continue for the New Immaculata, with the focus being on support “over and above what is already given to the schools.” Fr. Beck stressed the importance of transparency and regular updates regarding progress of the project.

• A general meeting regarding the new church project, open to the parish, will be held soon as fundraising and space options are explored.

Fr. Rostand concluded the meeting with his blessing and words of encouragement for “the great good which is presently being done in St. Mary’s and which will continue to be done in St. Mary’s.”

The September newsletter to Friends and Benefactors is sent as a color brochure with images of the modified design.  Fr. Fullerton writes: "After nearly a year of careful consideration and diligent work, I am happy to say that the new design is nearly complete. In the next few months, once the schematic design phase is complete, we hope to develop a building plan that divides the project into phases, allows us to set concrete fundraising goals, and prepares us to break ground in a few years." 

Cash donations towards the New Immaculata reach $1,295,000.00  Outstanding pledges amount to an additional $450,000.00

 Schwerdt presents exterior conceptual views that are close to complete.  The pitch of the roof is changed to better match the original Immaculata.  Work begins on the interior drawings.

Schwerdt begins presenting their design changes: a single bell-tower instead of two towers; reducing the interior nave height from 90 feet to 67 feet; smaller window openings; and simplified exterior walls, with less niches, angles, and projections than the previous design.  Seating capacity remains at roughly 1,300.

Fr. Fullerton and David Heit from Schwerdt visit Holy Name church in Kansas City, Missouri as a possible source of exterior stone for the New Immaculata, because Holy Name is scheduled for demolition.  In the end, the cost of matching the small amount of existing stone is deemed too much.

Fall, 2010  
Schwerdt Design Group, an architecture firm in Topeka, Kansas is hired to make the New Immaculata design fit within our budget.  A simpler, country Gothic style design is conceived to honor the original Immaculata, complement campus architecture, and meet the budget requirements.

Fr. Fullerton writes to Friends and Benefactors that, "Due to the costs involved in resolving (SMAC campus) fire code issues, our attention over the last year has been focused on raising funds to complete the required (fire) revisions.  Because of this, little mention has been made about the new church project..."  During this period, Fr. Fullerton commissions an in-depth cost analysis of the new church.  This analysis determines that the high Gothic design exceeds our project budget.  Another analysis is done on a country Gothic design, still seating 1,300 - this design fits within our budget.  Father concludes his letter, "Presently we are looking for an architect in the local area to help with the new design... As always we thank you for your continued spiritual and material support, without which we would find it very difficult to continue the necessary work of Catholic education."

Donations continue to arrive: in 2009, $262,000.00 dollars in cash and $65,000.00 dollars in pledges are committed to the project.

All preliminary site work is complete.  The SMAC grounds crew has gone to work smoothing and beautifying the site as we wait for construction plans to be finalized.

7/16/09  The work goes on!  At about noon today, Meier removed the metal tower cap and began the process of bringing down the bell-tower itself in stages.  For the next couple of weeks, work will focus on cleaning up the site and moving the wall stones to their storage location on campus. 

The Immaculata bell-tower is structurally very weak in the NE corner of the base. Meier is trying to work around this weakness to bring the tower down in sections rather than all at once: this has complicated his approach.

Monday morning, Meier has been working at building up the rock pile his excavator is sitting on so as to safely reach up to the metal tower cap. He will try to pull the cap today and then work on the tower bit by bit on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Check back for an update this afternoon.

7/9/09 - Starting on Monday, July 6, Meier & Co. has taken down the back, side and front walls of the old Immaculata. Friday morning, the contractor is going to rig cables to the bell-tower and then at 2:00pm, CST, he is going to pull the bell-tower down. It will take up to three weeks to clean up the rest of the site.

7/3/09 - The major work this summer will be removing the ruins of the old Immaculata and preparing the site for construction of the new church. Here is the press release that we sent out to local and national media announcing the site prep work: Read it here

11/21/08 - We sent out our first mailing, telling thousands of faithful across the United States and Canada about this project.  If you would like to receive the mailing, and did not, please contact us today!

11/19/08 - This website was officially launched!  Please check back often for updates, news, and notes!


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