Tuesday, November 06, 2001

St. Ignatius makes plan for future

Parish expands in phases

By Angela T. Koenig
Enquirer Contributor

        GREEN TOWNSHIP — Administrators at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church on North Bend Road are looking to a master plan of the earthly kind — starting with $6.8 million in construction — to accommodate the needs of a thriving parish.

        “It's exciting; we've got a lot of growth here,” said the Rev. Thomas Bolte. The pastor here since 1993, Father Bolte has seen the number of parish families grow from 1,750 to 2,250.

        What's resulted, he said, is standing room only at two of six weekend Masses — where overall weekend Mass attendance has climbed from 2,585 to 3,814 during his tenure — and occasional waiting lists for St. Ignatius Elementary School, which serves grades K-8.

Honoring the past
               To address these needs, already under way is Phase I of a potential four-phase master plan. The first phase will replace the existing rectory and offices with a new, larger rectory, offices and a meeting/conference area called the Father Hilvert Center, named for the church's founding pastor, the Rev. William Hilvert.

        Phase II, to begin in June, includes the construction of a new cafeteria and the addition of 12 classrooms, which incorporates two science labs and an art room.

        “We always want to be able to offer a Catholic education to the people in this community, and to facilitate that demand, we need to increase our building size,” said Principal Tim Reilly, who, since he arrived in 1995, has experienced an enrollment increase from 693 students to 812.

Adding classes
               The average class size is 30 students, though some classes have 33, Mr. Reilly said.

        “That's too many,” he said, adding that the expansion will add at least one more class per grade and increase capacity to 1,032 students.

        The church already has $2.5 million in place and a $3.5 million fund drive is under way. Additional funds for capital improvements are raised through the church festival, which generates about $122,000 annually, and bingo, which brings in about $140,000 annually.

        Phase III will expand church seating from 850 to about 1,200, build a music room and a large front gathering area. The last potential phase would be to add a second gymnasium, youth and scouts building to the school.

        “But that's down the road,” the pastor said.


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