Since September of last year, the Pastoral Committee, the Finance Committee and I have been meeting and reviewing reports from the Quandel Construction Group concerning repairs needed on our church and rectory. The comprehensive report presented to our committees indicated that to address and repar every problem which was highlighted on both buildings would require expenditures of $1,058,354.00. This amount is far beyond anything we can afford. The possibility of seeking a loan to pay for the work also is not possible because our weekly collections are so meager and support of our fundraising activity is poor.
At the suggestion of the Archbishop, we continued to meet and discuss with Quandel the establishment of priorities or for lack of a better term, a “wish-list”. We began to single out the repairs which are most critical. Working through the winter we narrowed the scope of the work on both buildings to that which is absolutely necessary and have been able to reduce the costs to a maximum of $735,000.00. Just a sample of the work involved includes: Parapet, gutter and downspout redesign and repair, roof replacement, side window well repairs, exterior window sill replacement, demo and redesign front plaza entrance, demo and remove brick piers and fencing along Beech Street, reengineer and install new HVAC system for the church, sump pump replacement, installation of an elevator, replace all mechanical systems on the church, redesign and repair side entrances to the basement and upper church, new metal doors. The rectory needs a new roof, replacement windows, new siding, repair of interior ceilings and walls caused by water damage from leaking windows and roof and a new kitchen. The list is just a portion of the work that actually needs to be done, but we cannot afford any more than this.
Last week the Archbishop reviewed all documents, plans and proposals and gave his blessing to move the repair project forward. It is hoped, but not guaranteed, that when we enter the bidding process, we can be very aggressive in pressing for better prices which will bring the cost of the job down. With the experience of a company as large as Quandel, their vast expertise and their contacts throughout the industry, we have a strong ally on our team to make lower bids a possibility.
The choice facing the Archbishop has been difficult. We have a poorly designed and constructed building which continues to deteriorate by the day. He constantly asked, should we embark on this major repair or should we close and consolidate the parish with another. There is no easy answer and no easy way out for any of us. The Archbishop has chosen to put his faith in us to meet this huge challenge. I hope and pray each one of us will respond positively and generously. I hope and pray each one of us will step up and be responsible for ensuring the future of our parish here in Mt. Carmel.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. All the material concerning repairs is available for you to see, just as are any and all parish records. I have been completely transparent and honest with you from the start and will continue to be so as we go forward.
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