Frequently Asked Questions about the Capital Campaign (revised 01.22.2015)
As we have begun to discuss the capital campaign with parishioners, they have had some excellent questions and wondered whether we have considered all aspects of the project. We’ve included the most commonly asked questions in this document. If you have a question about an issue that isn’t addressed here, please ask a member of the Campaign Committee.
FUTURE OF THE PARISH
- Why are we investing in this property instead of simply building a new St. Susanna elsewhere?
- Our parish community has already made a substantial investment in building and expanding our current church and school. Even if suitable land with excellent access could be located and purchased at an affordable price (which is unlikely), the cost to build a new church and school would be staggering. Land and infrastructure alone would likely cost in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 million.
After careful study, we believe it is far more prudent to serve the near-term future by expanding upon our current facilities. We do recognize that we may outgrow the expanded space down the road, but this is the most cost-effective solution for the foreseeable future.
- Is this a short-term band-aid instead of a long-term solution?
- Our Building Committee and Futures Committee consistently look out over the next 10 years to determine facility needs, and the current plan is designed to meet the needs over that time period.
When it comes to long-term planning for a parish in a rapidly growing area, 10 years is generally considered to be the limit of reasonable accuracy. It is virtually impossible to plan for a longer horizon, because so many factors outside of our control are involved. The Archdiocese does examine anticipated population trends over the next 20 years, and they share that information with us to help us planning at the local level.
- Could we purchase additional land from Duke Energy?
- We recently added to the parking area and extended our western boundary with land from Duke. However, Duke Energy management has told us that the utility is not interested in selling or leasing any additional land at this time.
- How was St. Malachy able to justify building an entirely new campus?
- Every parish and community situation is unique. In the case of St. Malachy, the town government would not allow the parish to proceed with a much-needed expansion at its previous site. That forced the parish to find a new site several miles away, and to take on a significant amount of debt to finance that new site.
- Why not just add another Hendricks County parish?
- Many people think of parishes in terms of church buildings, but they are actually communities that require extensive resources. The investment to create another physical church and school elsewhere in the county represents only part of the total cost. Consider also that the retirement of priests and other religious has been outpacing the number of new vocations. In many parts of our Archdiocese, pastors are now required to simultaneously serve in several parishes. These factors explain why the Archdiocese is asking existing parishes to do more, rather than adding more parishes.
- Will the Archdiocese ever build a Catholic high school in Hendricks County?
- The Office of Catholic Education is currently examining the possibility of building a new high school in the suburbs south of Indianapolis. They have not publicized any plans for additional high schools at this time, but that doesn’t mean that they will not consider other areas in the future. They carefully monitor the growth of St. Susanna and other parishes. For the foreseeable future, St. Susanna and the other parishes in the West Deanery will continue to be served by Cardinal Ritter High School.
- Why doesn’t the Archdiocese provide more support to St. Susanna?
- Although some parishioners may believe that the Archdiocese has a huge budget and decides to provide financial support to some parishes and not others, the reality is actually quite different. The primary function of the Archdiocese is to provide administration for the Roman Catholic Church in Central and Southern Indiana, and administrative support to local parishes. For example, the Office of Catholic Education is responsible for supporting 70 schools. While they do not provide financial support to those schools, they assist with professional development for staff, programs for implementation, promotion, and assistance in complying with state and federal laws.
IMPROVEMENTS TO THE SCHOOL
- Does today’s enrollment really warrant additional classrooms?
- Yes. We are already struggling to meet the space requirements of our current enrollment and the programs we offer to ensure that students receive a well-rounded, high-quality education — and our enrollment numbers have been increasing. Existing spaces are performing double and triple duty. Students eat lunch in one end of Zore Hall while PE classes are in session in the other end. Band students are forced to practice in a closet. We have maximized the use of every square foot of storage.
- How can new space improve students’ quality of education?
- The planned expansion will improve both the functionality and atmosphere of the school building, enhancing the staff’s availability to deliver high-quality education and allowing for larger space for older kids to mentor younger ones. The plan provides flexible space that will allow large-group activities such as band the opportunity to meet together without interfering with other activities. Currently, the only space large enough to accommodate the band is Zore Hall. Students will have space to change clothes for PE, instead of having to crowd into the bathrooms. We will be better able to meet the needs of students with disabilities. We also expect to be able to reduce the number of serving times for lunch.
- Why don’t we just add a second story to the existing building?
- The present building and its foundation were not engineered for more than one story, so they would not provide adequate structural support or meet building code requirements. In addition, if we were to build a new second story, accessibility laws would require us to install an elevator shaft and elevator, which would significantly increase costs.
- What grade levels will occupy the new classroom space?
- We plan to determine that after the space is completed, based upon the enrollment levels at that time.
- Will the building plans include any remodeling of existing spaces?
- If funding and costs allow, we hope to upgrade restrooms and lighting, and develop additional space for classroom storage.
- Do the plans include any security upgrades?
- Does the plan address the shortage of storage space?
- We will install built-in storage in classrooms, which will allow us to free up space in other storage areas. Like homeowners, we may never have as much storage as we’d like, but we believe this plan will significantly improve the situation.
- Why aren’t we building a second gym?
- While we could use a second gym, there just isn’t enough space. We are currently seeking rented gym space to help us meet the growing needs of CYO and other programs.
- Will there be an outdoor playground?
- Yes. Our first priority is to complete the addition. After that, we will evaluate the remaining green space and hard-surfaced area to make the best use of the available area.
- Shouldn’t school parents bear the cost of expanding the school?
- While it’s true that families served by our school receive the most direct benefit, the simple fact is that our school is an integral part of the larger parish community. Religious Education and Youth Ministry meet regularly in the school, as well as, many other non-parish activities. Parents whose children attend our school are typically highly involved in other activities and ministries benefiting the parish as a whole. Our school also draws parents to St. Susanna, helping to grow our parish. Finally, as parishioners, we share the responsibility to ensure that our community’s young people become knowledgeable about our faith, so our Church will continue to grow through future generations.
IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CHURCH BUILDING
- What will the church addition be used for during the day?
- The space will accommodate a long list of parish and school activities. For example, many of our senior programs such as Young at Heart, Bible studies, and health programs occur during the day. The school would be able to use it for smaller presentations and combined classroom activities. The preschool, Pre-K, and day care programs could also use the space for activities while PE classes are utilizing the gym.
- Can’t we use Zore Hall and its kitchen for these activities?
- During the school day, Zore Hall is already a busy place, serving as a cafeteria, physical education room, and overflow classroom space for the school. Outside the school day, it is used for CYO and other activities. When Zore Hall and the kitchen are needed for special events, such as a funeral luncheon, it creates a significant disruption and a need for a change in security procedures for the school and the process of serving lunches to students.
- Will the addition include a full kitchen?
- The church addition will include a small kitchen that will be suited to the smaller groups using the space. We anticipate that the kitchen area will include a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and sink.
- Will there be a music practice area in the addition to the church building?
- There will not be a dedicated area for music practice, but the choir and musicians will be able to use some of the new spaces.
- Are you changing the Cry Room?
- The drawing of the church addition shows a covered walkway. Will this be built?
- The architect included the canopy as a possible element of the addition. Whether the final plan includes elements such as the canopy depends upon the actual costs and the amount of money raised.
- Since the arbor will be removed, will there be places for photographs and reflection?
- Many families currently use the beautifully landscaped areas in front of the church for photographs, and we assume that they will continue to do so. Once the building is complete, we will assess the remaining green space and determine what opportunities are available.
MEETING AND EVENT SPACE
- Do we really need additional space for meetings and events?
- Currently, we are forced to turn down many requests from our parishioners for wedding receptions and other important family events because we lack the space to accommodate them, or because available spaces are being used for scheduled parish activities. In addition to being an inconvenience for our parishioners, that means the parish loses out on a source of revenue.
- Which outside groups would use this space?
- While parish activities always have priority over outside groups, part of our ministry to the larger community involves providing space for weekly, monthly, or occasional use by outside groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, pain management support groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, as well as one-time uses for groups such as the Knights of Columbus, Optimist Club, Cursillo, and Kendra’s Call for Komfort that we have been unable to host.
- Isn’t the school vacant outside the school day?
- While it’s true that many classrooms aren’t occupied when the school day comes to an end, they’re not conducive for many other purposes, especially meetings involving adults. Between student seating and instructional materials, there’s very little “free” space in most classrooms, and no adult seating. In addition, opening classrooms to outside groups creates security concerns.
- Would the multipurpose room at the school be available during the day?
- We anticipate that the multipurpose room would be used every day. The long list of uses includes large-group presentations, guest speakers, project displays, preschool/pre-K activities, class parties, day care and aftercare activities, student council meetings, and more.
IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PARKING LOT
- Will there be an exit to the Meijer lot?
- Yes, it should open in early 2015.
- Will we be able to enter through the gate in the fence by the Meijer lot?
- The gate will only be used as an exit during times when traffic is at a peak. If we left the gate open, outside traffic might try to use our lot as a shortcut, creating a hazard for parishioners and school students.
- Will the white garage be removed?
- We have not made a decision. After the exit to the Meijer parking lot is open, we’ll be better able to study our traffic needs. If we decide that the current exit needs to be upgraded to two lanes to ensure the safety of parishioners and visitors, we may need to remove the white garage.
- Will parking lot lighting be improved as part of the plan?
- Is the $2.8 million goal achievable, and how many parish families will contribute?
- Our fundraising consultants have worked on many capital campaigns providing them with experience analyzing parish population and typical Sunday collections. They will provide us with the assistance needed toward achieving our $2.8 million goal. We estimate that 70 percent of St. Susana parish families will donate to the capital campaign.
- Do we have to have all the money before construction begins?
- The normal policy of the Archdiocese is to allow construction to begin when half of the total amount has been collected and the other half has been fully pledged. That policy is negotiable, and once we have the results of the capital campaign, we will meet with the Archdiocese to determine how to proceed.
- Will all of the money be used at St. Susanna?
- Yes. None of the money will go to the Archdiocese or other needs. Every dollar will be invested in our parish and school.
- How confident are you in the construction cost estimates?
- The estimates were developed by the architect and a general contractor based upon the preliminary plans, their experience, and the current business climate in the local commercial construction industry. If the actual costs turn out to be higher, we will build what we are able to with the available funds.
- What happens if we don’t hit our goal?
- We would first look at ways to make up the shortfall, which could include everything from reaching out to the business community and St. Susanna School alumni to holding a community-wide fundraiser of some sort. If we need to reduce the scope of the project, we will focus on the most important improvements to both the school and the church building.
- Have we considered alternatives to this plan?
- Our committees have studied the needs for the past three years and considered a wide range of ways to meet them. After substantial study and planning, we have agreed that the proposed plan offers the most-effective solution for the space we have available.
- Did you eliminate any ideas from this plan?
- There is a long list of improvements that people would like to see, but we have to work within our resources. The committees focused on items that had the highest priority and provided the greatest value for the total mission of our parish.
- Can I designate my donation to the church portion or school portion of the construction?
- While the improvements will serve both the school and the parish as a whole, you can designate your donation to either.
- When were the sections of the church building and the school constructed?
- The original church/school building was built in 1953, with the convent that now serves as the church office added in 1956. The present church building was constructed in 1972 and expanded in 2008. Additions to the school building have been made in 1995, 1998, and 2005.
THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS
- When will construction begin and how long will it take?
- The start date depends largely on the amount of available funding. Because space around both the church and school buildings is very limited (we want to restrict as little parking space as possible), we plan to proceed in two phases, each of which should take three to four months, unless delayed by uncooperative weather.
- Has the Town of Plainfield approved the plans?
- We will need a building permit to proceed with the work, and will not be able to pursue a permit until the full design drawings have been completed.
- Who will handle the construction?
- We have not yet selected a contractor, and plan to do so through a competitive bidding process. The design and construction process will be managed by the architect and parish leadership.