St. Catherine of Siena Parish Center Construction Update, 7/2016

6 07 2016

This one’s a little tough to swing since it’s a jaunt from most of the other construction projects underway, but the drive over was worth the effort. St. Catherine of Siena Church in Northeast Ithaca is progressing with work on its new Parish Center.

The 8,878 SF, one-story building, vaguely in the shape of a cross, is being built to replace the existing one-story, 10,273 SF parish center, which was built in 1963 and designed by local architect Victor Bagnardi. Bagnardi also did Trinity Lutheran on Honness Lane, and the old county library a couple of years later. At over fifty years of age, with alterations, outdated interior layouts and with many of its mechanical and utility systems worn out and in need of replacement, the church opted to build a new structure rather than renovate the existing building. The centerpiece of the site, the 1961 church, was renovated in the late 2000s.

Plans originally approved in summer 2015 called for a 10,811 SF building with roughly the same overall shape and appearance as the building underway. However, that plan was trimmed down as a result of rising construction costs. An earlier plan by Ithaca architect Pamela Kingsbury was also shelved for similar reasons.

The project is expected to cost in the range of $3-$3.5 million, all of which must come from church funds and philanthropy. The Diocese of Rochester does allow bridge loans, but it does not allow any parish in its jurisdiction to carry long-term debt. A similar debt-free approach is also in place for the Al-Huda mosque planned on Graham Road in Lansing. Along with donations, St. Catherine of Siena used funds from a late pastor’s bequest, sale of land near its entrance, and leftover funds from previous budgets and campaigns to bring the construction project to fruition.

At this point, the foundation has been formed, poured and back-filled. Subsurface (under-slab) utilities, such as plumbing and electrical, have been laid for the new building. Framing should commence shortly.

Plans call for a late 2016 opening. Once the new parish center is occupied, the old parish center will be taken down and its footprint converted into new parking spaces to replace those lost to the construction of the new facility. The new center will be physically connected to the church, directly to the church’s west by about 40 feet.

Richard McElhiney Architects of New York City is the project architect. Local firms T.G. Miller PC (surveying/engineering work), Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects (landscaping), and TAITEM Engineering PC (rooftop solar panels) are also playing a role in the buildout.

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5 responses

6 07 2016
C.M.

Looks kind of like the Catholic church “extension” in Lansing … always found that building jarring next to its graceful, Gothic predecessor.

7 07 2016
Fred

Off topic, but: Do you know who/what bought the building at 957 Mitchell Street (out of which WVBR used to broadcast), near East Hill Plaza?—Fred

8 07 2016
B. C.

Can’t say just yet. The property is in contract, but the sale has yet to be finalized. So until then, there’s nothing on file with the county. But if the sale clears, I’ll follow-up.

8 07 2016
Fred

OK, thanks.

14 09 2016
B. C.

Fred,
So hopefully this makes to your email. The Cow Palace was bought by the Ithaca Board of Realtors. Paperwork was filed this morning.

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