by Martha Quetsch
St. Gall Catholic Church in Elburn recently completed one year of fundraising for its new building, and has two more to go before construction likely can start.
â€œWe’re optimistic that we will be able to begin building at the end of our capital campaign,â€ St. Gall business manager Joe Batorson said.
St. Gall plans to build a new church on an unincorporated 30-acre parcel it owns on Route 47 at Hughes Road, to accommodate its growing parish of 708 families. The church’s fundraising campaign started Jan. 1, 2008, and will continue through December 2010.
The first phase includes worship and gathering space, 10 religious education classrooms for evening youth programs, and several offices, with an estimated cost of $6 million. St. Gall has received about $612,000 of the $1.8 million that parishioners pledged so far toward the total first-phase cost.
â€œWe had a very good response,â€ Batorson said.
Father Karl Ganss, parish pastor, said that with the contributions collected to date, and money the church has saved, St. Gall has about $3.5 million in the bank for the building project.
Village to study service connections for site
After its fruitful first year of fundraising, St. Gall church approached the village with building site plan Feb. 2. The church wants the village to approve the plan so the property can be annexed to the village.
â€œWe want to stay in the village, and to be able to hook into village (water and sewer) services if not initially, in the future,â€ Batorson said.
Elburn officials agreed that village engineers would study the site to determine whether they could extend those connections to the future church location and at what cost, Village Administrator David Morrison said. If the connections are too expensive for St. Gall, the church could install its own well and septic tank.
â€œWe will sit down with village engineers to determine the best and most economical approach to provide (sewer and water) services,â€ Batorson said.
Civil engineers hired by the church conducted soil borings on the property to make sure that the site could support the building. The church recently presented those findings to the village.
â€œWe’re doing our due diligence to make sure the plans will fit the property,â€ Batorson said.
Second phase will require more fundraising
When the first phase of the building project is finished, St. Gall will hold worship services at the new 650-seat church and have large social gatherings at its current building on Route 47 at Shannon Street; the new church will not have a full fellowship hall and kitchen until after the third phase of the project is finished.
A second phase calls for expanding the worship area to 1,100 seats.
St. Gall will not vacate the old building until it finishes the third phase of the new church. Additional fundraising campaigns will be necessary for the second and third phases, for which St. Gall does not have cost estimates yet.
After the fundraising campaign is over, St. Gall could borrow 25 percent of the project cost, if needed, from the Rockford Diocese. Then, St. Gall would have to conduct another fundraising campaign to pay the diocese back, Batorson said.
Image: St. Gall Catholic Church architects designed a traditional-style building at the request of church officials. The church is expected to begin construction at Route 47 and Hughes Road in Elburn in two years, after its fundraising campaign. Courtesy Image