St. Cecilia pursues multi-purpose facility

St. Cecilia Catholic Church has applied for a city site plan review with the goal of building a new three-story, multi-purpose facility on the corner of High School Road and North Madison Avenue by June 2010.

The new building (including a daylight basement) would replace a combination of a 1950s structure that served as the parish church until 1987, and an old barracks facility that was moved to the property at about the same time. The planned 18,718-square-foot building would replace the old facility as an educational center, where school and catechism students would attend classes.

The Rev. Father Emmett Carroll, who serves as St. Cecilia’s pastor, said it is still unsure if all of the structure will be built during one construction period.

“We are applying for the entire building,” he said, “but depending on the money available we may build part of it now and the rest later.” Father Carroll said the cost of razing the barracks and building anew is estimated at $5.5 million, “but if it’s more we may not build all 18,000 feet now.”

The school (pre-kindergarten to seventh grade) has 55 students this year, down from 75 a year ago.

“There were a variety of reasons why the enrollment dropped, but we plan on having about 100 students in the long-term,” Father Carroll said. “We also would have about 100 catechism students using the building two or three times a week.”

The new building also would serve as home to school and parish offices, meeting rooms and various other parish activities. “We’re very limited now, so we would put all of the new space to good use,” he said.

The building proposal is subject to State Environmental Policy Act review, though the city noted in its legal notice that it would expect to issue a Determination of Non-significance.

The permit application acknowledged that a storm-water detention facility would be required onsite to mitigate increases in peak flow entering the downstream system.

Traffic would continue as it now does, with ingress and egress into High School Road and Madison Avenue. A consultant is preparing a full traffic impact analysis, which will address project-specific transportation items such as trip generation.

Father Carroll said the plan is to begin construction early next summer.

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