photos submitted by Father Keith Kitzhaber
Originally planned for November, the demolition of Sacred Heart Catholic School will occur sometime in late January or February.
The 100 year-old building is undergoing a reclamation process for any valuable material such as wood trim, scrap metal, and hardwood joists before being torn down and rebuilt as a new, smaller facility that will better serve the parish.
“We’re not in a rush to build something immediately,” said Father Keith Kitzhaber, Sacred Heart Catholic Church. “We don’t have the funds yet to start building the new structure. Some, but not all.”
The tear-down marks the second phase of the Future Family Life campaign. The first phase saw the installation of new furnaces in the church, which was previously heated by the school furnaces. Once the former school is torn down, the church will construct a one-level, 7,000 square foot facility that can host gatherings of 2-300 people and provide rooms for Catholic education in the evenings.
The school closed its doors in 2002 due to low enrollment and since served as the site of Youth Net, an after-school program that relocated this year to the new Youth Center at the YMCA. Without the money from rent, upkeep for the old school would be a burden on the parish.
The church’s natural gas bill has already dropped about 75%, said Kitzhaber.
Currently the church is collecting bids from companies for the design and is deciding what the parish might need or want incorporated into the plans. “We’re looking at what can we do with the space that we’re given. Are we going to have accordion walls? Permanent walls?” he said.
One option for construction would be to complete it in stages, finishing interior work last as funds become available. The timeline for breaking ground would depend on meeting those fundraising goals, but if the campaign sees a large donation, the project could commence straight away.
Though the cost for the facility is estimated at $1.6 million, volunteer work from parishioners with construction backgrounds could help lower the costs. As a former electrical engineer, Father Kitzhaber said his old skills could come in useful as well.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church is located at 112 E 11th Street off of South Central Ave. in Marshfield.