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St. Michael’s breaks ground for new Parish Life Center

St. Michael’s breaks ground for new Parish Life Center
St. Michael’s breaks ground for new Parish Life Center
Members of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Bradford break ground Sunday afternoon outside of the parish hall. The celebration marks the beginning of a 10-month process to build a $2.5-million Parish Life Center and a complete renovation and addition to the current parish hall into a new education facility with staff offices. (Photo by Ross Schulz)

St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Bradford broke ground on a long-awaited building project Sunday afternoon in a ceremony outside the Parish Hall. Father John Fink was joined by many church members and other individuals instrumental in the preparation of the project for celebration.
The $2.5-million project will include a new Parish Life Center with full kitchen and multifunction facilities, new parish administration offices, and a complete renovation and addition of the current Parish Hall into a new education facility with staff offices. The new center will also have a gymnasium that can serve many purposes for the church and community. The new structure will be built next to the existing Parish Hall.
The church began discussion in 1999 about construction and remodeling of the church facilities, but no one wanted to chair the committee, Fink jokingly said.
Bill McIntyre, chairman of the building committee, also spoke to those gathered for the groundbreaking.
‘I’m most proud that the parish has come together to do this,’ he said. ‘We didn’t think it would ever be possible. The way the parish came together makes me more proud than the building itself.’
The project was deemed ‘a monumental task’ for a parish of St. Michael’s size, according to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. St. Michael’s Church has an approximate enrollment of 425 which includes families from Harrison, Floyd and Washington counties.
After the singing of ‘This Is the Day,’ the digging began with the parish’s oldest member, Elsie Jacobi, 95. Representatives from Michell, Timperman & Ritz Architects in New Albany and contractor Steve Nash, of Crossroads Contracting LLC, were next to put shovel to dirt.
‘It’s quite an honor to help,’ said Nash.
After the building committee posed for photos with shovels in hand, anyone with a shovel ‘ kids included ‘ began tilling the ground.
‘I can’t think of a better way for you to show your commitment,’ said Darrell Voelker, economic development director for Harrison County.
The church established a task force in 2001 to study the feasibility of adding space to ease overcrowding of the Faith Formation program and add additional space for parish functions. The Rev. Fink established the building committee in 2003 and the plan was under way. Construction began Monday with completion expected in 10 months.