Parish leadership spent many months in meetings conducting research on our parish, our current facilities and their use and anticipated population growth in our parish and the surrounding community. Following this intensive analysis and study, parish leadership made an initial determination as to the most pressing needs:
Our current church is inadequate for the needs of today. We often experience overflow at Masses throughout the year requiring many families to watch Mass on television monitors in the Borromeo Room. The Current church space severely limits our ability to worship together as a parish family in one space. Many parishioners have also expressed a strong desire for a more aesthetically pleasing and traditionally appearing worship space befitting our St. Charles community. Adding a church steeple would create greater visibility in the community and provide a more traditional Catholic look and feel. There is also a need and a desire for a 24-hour Eucharistic Chapel to provide a solace space for parishioners to come and pray. We must also consider and prepare for a time when there will be fewer priests and anticipate the need to accommodate more of the faithful at fewer Masses.
Our school enrollment increased from 160 students to 282 in the last seven years. With limited classroom space available there is a waiting list of families wishing to enroll their child in the school. During the summer of 2016 the youth room was relocated to a smaller reconfigured space in the parish hall and that previous space was converted to house two additional classrooms. With continued growth in our community, we expect more families to enroll their children in the school. We want to welcome and accommodate all families who choose a Catholic education. Most especially needed are additional classrooms offering flexible use, science and technology workrooms as well as teacher offices and storage. It is also important to remember that the school facility serves those families who choose to enroll their children in our Religious Education program. With nearly 700 children currently enrolled, every room in the facility is often filled.
In the past five years we have added many new ministries and additional staff to meet the needs of our parishioners. Upgrading and expanding our existing office space for current and future positions is an essential aspect of this vision.
Social spaces and other locations throughout our parish campus are scheduled tightly and used very effectively, yet our facilities provide limited space for meetings and group activities of the many ministries we have at St. Charles.
Our heating, air conditioning and other mechanical and plumbing systems are 30 to 50 years old and need upgrading. By focusing on state-of-the-art and sustainable technology, the costs of operating these systems could be less expensive. We also do not have sufficient restrooms for a parish with 2,400 families and the current facilities are dated, need energy efficient upgrades and full handicap accessibility.