By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Less than a month after opening its doors, the new parish hall at Prince of Peace has been host to Father Dan Dorau’s ordination reception, pastor Father Ken Kuntz’s 40th anniversary of priesthood celebration and a funeral luncheon.
“It is already being used as we dreamed it would be used!” said Dave Schnier, the parish’s business administrator.
The 8,200-square-foot hall is connected to the west of the church’s gathering area by a corridor. The hall can seat 320 people and has partitions which can divide the hall into smaller meeting areas so multiple meetings and activities can take place. The hall was designed with energy efficiency in mind, from window design to the heating and cooling system. It includes a large kitchen with new food service equipment, restrooms, a canopy-covered entrance, data cabling, a sound system and new parking spaces.
Since the merger of the five Clinton parishes in 1990, Prince of Peace had been using St. Boniface Hall — roughly two miles from Prince of Peace. While St. Boniface Hall was well used, its layout was not ideal for hosting multiple events, such as preschool or funeral luncheons.
Schnier said the possibility of a parish hall was worked into the blueprints of Prince of Peace, built in 2009. “The master plan called for a hall that would connect to the west side of our church gathering area when the time came.”
With the encouragement of Fr. Kuntz, the parish began conceptual planning for a new hall in 2013-2014 with architectural firm RDG Planning & Design — the same firm that designed the church and office wing. The plan was for the hall to be aesthetically similar to the existing structures.
The parish announced its $2.3 million, three-year campaign in late 2014, officially kicking off in April 2015. An anonymous pledge of $500,000 started things off. So far, 597 families have made pledges. The Sisters of St. Francis and Knights of Columbus in Clinton have each given gifts of $100,000. The parish plans to use some of its savings as well, which is the result of parishioner support that includes bequests and charitable gifts over the years. Schnier said, “We have been blessed as a parish by those who have given according to their means and are very grateful for each and every gift along the way.”
To date, $1,854,500 in funds has been committed to the project with 81 percent of the pledge commitments paid to date, Schnier said. The parish broke ground last August.
Schnier noted parishioner Mike Pittman was instrumental in giving his time to oversee the entire construction process. “He did an outstanding job being a liaison between the parish and the general contractor in his free time. What a gift Mike Pittman has been to our parish in sharing his time, talent and resources to bring this hall to completion!”
A few more projects remain before the project is completely finished, including new parking lot poles and landscaping work, Schnier said. “But to break ground in August and be practically completed by the end of May is a testament to our team of architect, general contractor, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, heating/air conditioning experts, excavators, and a myriad of subcontractors. … It is a beautiful facility, simple but well designed and constructed.”