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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. What is St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish proposing?

A. The parish is proposing a capital campaign to fund much needed renovations to Gabriel House (the old convent) and the addition of a Gathering Room connected to the Church. The full extent of any renovations and/or additions will be determined by the expected level of success of a capital campaign.

 

Q. Why is it important to invest in the renovation of Gabriel House?

A. Because of its convent design, the building has been underutilized in recent years and has fallen into a state of disrepair. With funds raised in a capital campaign, St. Gabriel School will have the opportunity to offer the highest level of educational excellence with new state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and resources – preparing students for the future of tomorrow. Further, the parish will benefit from additional meeting spaces created by the renovation. The addition of an elevator will provide ADA compliance.

 

Q. Why is it important to invest in a Gathering Room for the Church?

A. Currently, parishioners do not have a central location for welcoming, fellowship and community building. A Gathering Room will provide a location directly connected to the narthex to converse after Mass, welcome visitors and new parishioners, share coffee and donuts, gather and pray, mourn before funeral services, celebrate after baptisms – and meeting space for parish organizations.

 

Q. Will the Church building be renovated or remodeled as part of the campaign?

A. The body of the church will not be changed. No significant changes to the interior or exterior of the Church building have been proposed by the campaign. A simple doorway connecting the narthex of the Church to the new Gathering Room through the old baptistry is the only proposed interior modification to the Church. Regular maintenance of the Church (including plaster and paint repair) are budgeted and will occur – separately from any campaign.

 

Q. How will the parish determine if a capital campaign will be successful?

A. Every parish and school family had the opportunity to participate in a feasibility study in early 2024. The results of that study along with additional feedback received by the committee indicate that families of St. Gabriel Parish and School strongly support conducting a capital campaign to renovate Gabriel House and add a Gathering Room next to the Church. In addition to this strong attitudinal support, the parish will also factor in whether there is high likelihood of funds being available from generous donors to complete the proposed projects.

 

Q. What were the results of the feasibility study? 

A. With over 325 responses, the results of the study can be summarized as follows:

  1. Significant enthusiasm was expressed for both proposed projects – and for conducting a campaign.
  2. A Gabriel House renovation is necessary, must include some space accessible for parish use, but the proposed addition made the project too large.
  3. Support for the Gathering Space concept was strong, but many parishioners felt that the current designs were too small. Many feel it should be built as large as possible.
  4. Some respondents were concerned about St. Gabriel’s merging with other parishes or schools. There is no plan for this. Thus, Fr. Molini must continue to make this point clear to parishioners. Specific to St. Gabriel and St. Raphael, they are two independent parishes with two independent parish elementary schools and two separate parish communities. There are no plans for any changes to this configuration.
  5. Parishioners want the Archdiocese to show support for this effort in a tangible manner. Fr. Molini has already broached this subject with those involved and is in the process of taking next steps.
  6. The original hope for a six - to - seven-million-dollar capital campaign appears untenable. Still, conducting a capital campaign was supported by the vast majority of survey respondents.

 

Q. How will the feasibility study results affect the proposed campaign?

A. In light of the study results, the following changes will occur:

  1. The Gabriel House renovation will be scaled back to remove the proposed addition. New plans will also attempt to utilize the space to better fit both school and parish needs.
  2. The Gathering Space will be redesigned to increase capacity while still maintaining an aesthetic complementary to both the church and rectory.
  3. The goal of the capital campaign will be lowered in accordance with the feedback received. The financial goal of the campaign is still TBD pending final drawings and additional consultations with parish leaders.

 

Q. Will the proposed capital campaign affect neighboring parishes and schools?

A.  As Catholics, we are called to share our resources for the betterment of our neighborhood, Church, and world. Our only intentions in the state-of-the art renovation of Gabriel House and the addition of a Gathering Room are ensuring continued strong enrollment and education at St. Gabriel School, and further strengthening the welcoming nature of the Parish. Both St. Gabriel and St. Raphael remain strong, independent parishes and schools – as directed at the conclusion of All Things New.

 

Q. Have building plans been finalized?

A. Not yet. Some conceptual drawings exist, but not in detail. New renderings and building plans are being prepared based upon the parishioner feedback and support expressed in the feasibility study.

 

Q. When would a campaign, renovations and construction begin? 

A. An exact schedule is TBD. After plans have been finalized, we expect to conduct a campaign later in 2024. When 50% of the expected revenues have been raised, the parish can move forward with construction. We will keep everyone updated on specifics as we move forward.

 

Q. Can you be more specific as to what will be housed within the newly renovated Gabriel House?

A. The committee is currently reviewing a number of proposals based upon feedback received from the feasibility study. All proposals currently provide for a mix of school and parish use, but specific details are still being finalized.

 

Q. Wouldn’t it be easier to keep classes in the current school building?

A. Many of the classrooms inside the current school building have become outdated and/or could be better utilized for other school needs. By moving some classes to a new state-of-the-art Gabriel House, the current classrooms can be “decommissioned” to meet other school and parish needs without additional renovation.

 

Q. Will the Gathering Room design match the Church? Will it block the windows? Will the old oak tree in front of the rectory be removed?

A. The parish has employed an architect to recommend designs that will be the most aesthetically pleasing and complimentary to the Church building. The intent is for the structure to have a minimal impact on the current Church building while seamlessly connecting to the narthex of the Church. Regarding the oak tree, the parish will be consulting with an arborist to inspect its gall infestation and its likely lifespan. We will keep you informed as this process progresses.

 

Q. Wasn’t this entire development opportunity studied some years ago?

A. About three years ago, a small committee was formed to begin discussions about how to best renovate Gabriel House and create a Gathering Room. However, after the Archdiocese suspended all capital campaigns throughout the All Things New process, the committee and the plans were temporarily put on hold. With the completion of All Things New, St. Gabriel has been given permission to renew its exploration of the opportunity.

 

Q. Will the renovation of Gabriel House increase school enrollment, tuition and fees, and/or operational costs?

A. Increasing enrollment over existing classroom maximums is not our intention or expectation, and additional faculty or staff should not need to be hired. The objectives of the Gabriel House renovation are truly to provide the necessary space for the type of state-of-the-art experience needed to continue delivering an A+ education and provide flexible school/parish meeting space. We expect this to continue creating strong demand for the school, drive young families to become parish and school families, and maintain strong property values. Renovation of Gabriel House will include updated systems and a more energy efficient design, both of which will help offset additional operational costs caused by an increase in use. Equipment costs have already been included in the project estimate.

 

Q. How will the addition of a Gathering Room impact the parish budget?

A. Although there will be additional utility costs for the Gathering Room, these are expected to be minor and the parish will budget for these costs accordingly. It is hoped that the increase in parish vitality created with the addition of the Gathering Room will also increase donations and help offset additional utility costs. Equipment costs have been built into project estimate.

 

Q. Who are the committee members?

A. Fr. Thomas Molini, Bill Burnes, Mike Heithaus, Patrick McGinnis, Judy Murphy, Kevin Kozminske, Lee Hahnel, Marcus Adrian, Shawn McLain, James Backes, Erin Backes, Monica Shripka, and Jean Gruetzemacher. We are always seeking additional volunteers to assist the committee as it moves into the campaign phase.

 

Q. How to help?

A. If you are interested in making a significant donation of your time or money to a capital campaign, please reach out via email to campaign@stgabrielstl.org. Additionally, and most importantly, please pray for the successful future of St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish and School.

 

Q. More questions?

A. Please consult the bulletin for additional updates. For questions not answered above, please reach out via email to campaign@stgabrielstl.org.