Do we really have a shortage of meeting space?
Yes! Our lack of space has become so common, many of us no longer realize the negative impact it has on our parish family and how it affects our ability to gather and grow in spirit and faith. We currently have three parish meeting rooms that seat at up to 50 people. These rooms are overbooked, and we have difficulty serving our 3,000 parish families that make up 111 committees and groups. In fact, we turn away seven to 10 groups every week, so they have to meet off site. Besides that, our existing space prohibits us from hosting larger events with national speakers or large-scale Bible studies. We also hold sacrament retreats, large meetings and funeral luncheons in our school gym, which displaces our school children and sports teams.
Why run a campaign now? Why don’t we wait a couple of years?
Timing is important to a successful project. Parish leadership has determined that there are four key factors influencing this timing:
- The current cost of construction,
- The leadership commitment of Fr. Dan Kampschneider,
- Low interest rates in case a bridge loan is needed, and
- The population growth projections in West Omaha that will affect our parish over the next five years.
We will pay off our existing church facility loan in November 2018 prior to opening the doors of the Parish Center. The positive growth and development for our parish will serve as a stimulus to get new families involved and engaged while reengaging those who may have drifted away from St. Vincent de Paul… inviting them to “come home.”
Why don’t we pay off our current loan first and then run a campaign?
Parish leadership has worked closely with Fr. Dan to manage and plan the financial future for the Parish. This capital campaign will include $700,000 to cover the remaining principal loan, allowing us to suspend our Annual Appeal, which wasn’t covering our payments over the last two years. This forward thinking will allow us to pay off the existing loan on time in November 2018 prior to opening the doors of our new Parish Center.
When will construction begin?
Construction will begin when we have 40% of our construction costs collected – about $2.7 million – and we are confident that we can cover our monthly principal payments on our existing loan, which we will pay off by November 2018. The target for beginning construction is the late summer or fall of 2017.
What is unique about our Parish Center?
Our Parish Center will offer a large meeting space for up to 500 people and five new flexible meeting rooms that seat between 30 to 50. We will also be able to convert it to serve as a retreat center with breakout rooms.
In addition, our Parish Center will feature an outreach center and food pantry on the lower floor that will serve families in need. The lobby will have several small conversation areas and a coffee bar/cafe to encourage parishioners to gather and socialize after Mass. We will also dedicate an area of the Parish Center to honor our Family Legacy Gift donors.
Does the Parish support the idea of a Parish Center campaign?
Yes. In May 2016, The Steier Group conducted a planning study to test the feasibility of conducting a capital campaign. Parish members responded with resounding support, with 76% favoring a campaign. There was also strong support for Fr. Dan’ and Dr. Marchese’s leadership and financial management, as well as a strong desire to retire the debt as a part of the campaign.
How much will it take to operate the Center once it is built?
It will cost approximately $60,000 a year to run and operate the Parish Center. These costs include heating and cooling, electricity and general operating expenses to run the Parish Center, as well as the salary for a part-time scheduling director.
Does the Center have income opportunities from renting space?
Yes. We project that our Parish Center will bring in about $30,000 from rental agreements, based on other parish center revenues. That money will offset the $60,000 of yearly expenditures to operate the Parish Center.
Gym time is at a premium at SVdP. Why are we not building a second gym?
We will move evening and Saturday activities like Trivia Night, sacrament retreats, Scouts and other large group events to the Parish Center once it is built. That will provide about 30% more gym time for our school teams to practice and play games.
How will the Center benefit my young and school-aged children?
The benefits are far reaching for families, as the Parish Center will offer many opportunities for families to come together. The school will be able to access the building during the day for retreats, rather than busing them offsite. The outreach center will offer meaningful community service opportunities for our children. Our faith formation and social opportunities will be expanded. Parent’s with Young Children will have space to use during the day when school is in session. On rainy days, our Parish Center can serve as indoor space for physical activities for our school children. It frees up 30% more gym time for our sports team, so they don’t have to rent practice space. School security will be improved when funeral luncheons are moved to the Parish Center.
How might teenagers use the Parish Center?
We are excited about the prospects of the new space, because we have an area that’s designated just for them. It will be more inviting and engaging for our teens, so we can expand and enhance our teen ministry programs, and even encourage collaboration among parishes. The Parish Center will be a place for gathering, studying and growing in fellowship for the teenagers in our parish.
When was our last campaign? Was any debt incurred to build the junior high wing?
The last campaign was conducted five years ago, and no new debt was incurred. That campaign provide funds to build the junior high wing, along with adding our preschool and two new meeting rooms as a stop-gap to our lack of meeting space. This campaign also raised $1.2 million to pay down our church facility loan.
Are we paying a fundraising or consulting firm to run the campaign?
No. We successfully ran our last campaign in-house with parish volunteers, saving the parish considerable fees. We are blessed to have a talented staff, a dedicated group of volunteers and a steering committee that is managing the communication and outreach to our volunteers. This means that each dollar raised is truly going to the bottom line of building our new Parish Center!