New Catholic Community Center planned


Above is a rendering of the proposed new community center at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church presented at Wednesday’s Marysville Design Review Board meeting. The building will replace the current Catholic Community Center.
(Image submitted)
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community Center is coming down soon to make way for a new one.
Wednesday night, the Marysville Design Review Board unanimously approved a project to build a new community center at the Catholic church on West Fifth Street.
Scott Harper, of Harper Architectural Studios of Westerville, spoke to the board about the project. He said he’s been working with the church on the building for “more than a year.”
He said the project will replace the existing 15,000-square-foot Catholic Community Center. The new center, which Harper called the Parish Life Center, will be about 25,000 square feet.
The buildings are divided into phases. Phase one will be rooms for religious education, the parish commons, and an entryway with a foyer. Phase two will be office space closer to the church itself.
Harper said he plans on using materials that match and complement the church.
Board members expressed excitement at the project. Member Brett Garrett called the project “fantastic.”
“I really hope you’re able to raise enough money to do that,” Garrett said.
Board member Tim Schacht complimented Harper’s attention to detail.
“It looks good, well-presented,” Schacht said.
In an interview, Father Kevin Kavanagh, of Our Lady of Lourdes, said the parish has been looking at building a new center for several years. He said a building committee was formed about a year and half ago to look at options.
According to Kavanagh, the driving force for the project was the need for more parking, classroom and gathering spaces. The large area at the parish commons will be able to seat more people for events.
Kavanagh said the church is still early in the process. They have no estimates about cost, and still need to have a town hall meeting with the parish to gauge reaction and get feedback.
He said after that, the church can begin a proper fundraising campaign.
At the meeting, Harper went deeper into the church’s parking problems.
Harper said the current community center is a bad location. He said it takes up space that could be used for parking.
“One of the biggest problems that the church has had over the years is parking, and the flow of pedestrian pathways from the parking to the church,” Harper said.
The new project will remedy that. The building will go along the western property line, which will leave more room for parking.
That will increase parking spaces from 123 to 188. The new parking lot layout, according to Harper, will also make it easier for pedestrians to get to the church.
“It also gives us the opportunity to landscape within the spaces,” Harper said.
The project will also level out the area, eliminating sudden elevation changes for pedestrians going to the church or new center.
Schacht commended Harper for adding pedestrian paths to the parking lot.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “That’s perfect. I wish every parking lot were designed that way.”
Harper joked that’s “why I got the job.”

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