By Celine Klosterman
GRINNELL — With the Feb. 10 launch of a $2.3 million five-year capital campaign, St. Mary Parish moved a step closer to building a larger parish hall and religious education center.
Nearly 300 people gathered in the Harris Center at Grinnell College to kick off the “Respecting our Past – Reaching for our Future” campaign, the first capital campaign for St. Mary’s in more than eight decades. At the event, Catholics heard about plans to construct a 14,630-square-foot, two-level building that will be attached to the north side of St. Mary Church. The addition will include more room for parish events, create a gathering space for the church and offer a handicapped-accessible entrance to the 86-year-old church.
The 440-family parish needs the new building because St. Mary’s existing parish hall and religious education center (REC) is too small for large social gatherings and needs repairs, parish trustee Steve Kenkel said. A planning and design firm assessed the 10,200-square-foot building in 2011 and recommended upgrading mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; replacing or repairing roofing; structurally stabilizing brick veneer; stabilizing and weather-sealing exterior wall surfaces; and undertaking other renovations.
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