[T]he surprise of the Holy Spirit is the message that the church gives us today: which Jesus says so firmly: New wine in new wineskins! – Pope Francis
When we first came up with the theme for our Capital Campaign over 4 years ago, we never thought in our wildest dreams that we would have to Build Our Future and Serve Our Past all at the same time. We had envisioned the growth and renewal of our campus and our programs as a multi-year endeavor, with the Life Center and CYO/CAO building our future this coming year, and the campus renewal projects occurring afterward, based on the priorities set out by Father John. Hurricane Irma put an end to that plan. Instead, we are now in the midst of a massive transformation of every square inch of Saint John the Evangelist all at once. I am grateful to all the supportive and encouraging comments that have come to the church (and to me personally), recognizing the sheer volume, complexity, and scale of this effort. Many of you have hurricane projects yourselves, and recognize the level of focus needed, especially in the face of challenges like insurance and County regulations requirements. I wanted to ensure you are kept up to date on all of the projects going on here at our church because We Are Saint John. So, here we go:
It was imperative to move out of our church as soon as possible so we could identify the depth of damage to our beloved building and begin the planning and engineering to repair our house of worship. The results of our invasive testing have been mixed. There is substantial damage to the ceiling due to the complete failure of the roof and skylight. The pews have been determined to be a total loss by both the insurance company and the pew experts we have brought in to evaluate them. The back door behind the tabernacle can no longer be replaced outright due to newer building codes in the County. These issues, along with the already identified outer doors and carpet replacements, will require significant changes to the church building. Very shortly, you will begin to see these changes on the exterior as the new roof replacement transforms the current barrel tile into a standing seam metal roof that matches the Life Center. Other changes will be both subtle and dramatic within the church, and we are looking forward to showcasing them to you.
Parish Activity Center
The Ballroom was just the beginning. Rome’s hurricane damage will be repaired next, including the replacement of the carpet to match the Ballroom’s new herringbone layout. All the exterior doors of the PAC will also be replaced with the new doors to include the access control system, ensuring the proper people are accessing our buildings across the entire campus. More changes could be afoot, based on the needs of our Parish Family.
As the groups that met in the Claussen Center at the end of the Spring will attest to, there is nothing fun about being in a building without Air Conditioning in Southwest Florida. The back parking lot has been completely trenched to open up the AC pipes for new units. Additional flood-related repairs will be accomplished in the Claussen Center, to include our new Library where the Youth Room used to be housed, and carpeting that was damaged in the storm. New exterior doors will match the rest of the campus and provide the same security mechanisms.
Pulte Family Life Center
The Life Center continues its progress for a Fall soft opening, allowing our CYO and CAO programs to have a home very soon. Each day seems to bring further definition to the layout and excitement for the new and renewed opportunities to engage our Parish Family. Once it is completed, we will be able to enjoy the hospitality before and after Masses as we can just go from the back doors of the Ballroom and right into the front of the Life Center. I am looking forward to seeing you all there!