Two years ago, when we began our Capital Campaign and engaged our parishioners to pledge $5.1 million for renovating our campus, we said: “It’s been over 50 years since we last renovated our church and auditorium… they both need a new roof.” In a year of heavy rains, we can relate to that!
As the most important gathering space for our community, our church ought to be beautiful, inspiring, comfortable, and safe. We have an opportunity to re-design the interior to make it more attractive and welcoming, encouraging fuller participation by worshipers. Renovations to our church will ensure that our home is a safer and more inspiring place to worship.
Our present plan really sticks to the basics – undeniable needs that must be met if we are to be responsible stewards of Christ’s mission and ministry at OLA. We have set aside our initial “wish list” of features and focused on practical solutions to our most pressing needs in the church with the help of a new architect. The savings will enable us to do more in other places around our campus for the benefit of all.
- So we begin with a new roof which will be attached more securely to the existing steel frame of the church for improved safety. Required accessibility for the handicapped will be met with a ramp to the front door, enlarged confessional room, and larger bathrooms for men and women built at the rear (east side) of the auditorium building. A new, 500-square-foot vestibule facing Berkeley Avenue will make the church entrance more welcoming while preserving the iconic arch that is a beloved feature of our church.
- Inside the church we will have a place for our musicians on one side and a place for an immersion baptismal font on the other. The altar will be moved forward closer to the people to allow the placement of an adoration chapel behind it. Systems for sound, video projection, heating and air conditioning will be modernized. Lighting will be enhanced with new chandeliers and natural light from side windows and openings in the roof. New pews and new flooring will give our worship space a fresh look.
- Preservation of existing artwork, such as the stained glass windows of Our Lady,
mosaic Stations of the Cross and candle room will be balanced with new art – additional stained glass windows, a suspended crucifix, the altar, ambo and presider’s chair, etc. Outdoor spaces and walkways around the church will be beautified and made safer.
All in all, we have achieved savings of about $1 million over the original plan while meeting our goals for a safer, more serviceable and inspiring worship space. Our talented and capable parish committees have provided countless hours of valuable recommendations and advice which has added to our savings. Work will begin this summer.
Fr. Charles Ramirez
Phases to follow in order of priority:
Auditorium – High on the list is air-conditioning made possible by the recent upgrade of our electrical infrastructure. Add a new roof, audio-visual components to live-stream Mass and renovate the 60-year old kitchen and gathering space.
Office consolidation – Our campus will become more welcoming and convenient by consolidating our administrative, school, faith formation, and ministry offices in a central location. This move will also release space for other uses in the former rectory building.
Former Rectory Building – Creative renovation of this space will enable us to get the most flexible use out of a gathering place for young people (ages 13 - 30), meeting rooms, and offices.
Former Convent Building – We cannot remove this building without triggering a parking assessment by the City of Claremont. Our only option is to improve this structure and make the best use of the space. We will renovate the lower level, improve the kitchen, open up more meeting space, paint the upstairs, and create much needed storage space.
Questions? Feel free to speak with our Director of Parish Administration, Neomi Torres, in the parish office at (909) 626-3596 or email her.