By December, Webster’s Holy Trinity Parish hopes to have finished construction on a multiuse junior-high-sized gym and stage that the parish and its school will be able to use for school dances, fundraising dinners, CYO-basketball games and many other functions.
The 7,700-square-foot space will be called Murphy Hall. It is the second phase of Trinity Life Center, or TLC, which parishioners have been working on for more than a decade.
Mark Nicholson, chairman of the Trinity Life Center committee, said the need for the new gym was illustrated by a pancake-breakfast fundraiser during which parishioners had to be seated in shifts in the old gym and cafeteria because there wasn’t enough room for everyone, he said. The old space also is small and has low ceilings, which has limited its usefulness for physical education, said Deacon Leo Kester, a member of the project’s design committee and a retired architectural engineer with Eastman Kodak Co.
“When they try to play basketball, they hit the ceiling,” he said. “This will be a nice facility for them and for the whole parish.”
Murphy Hall will be attached to the lower level of Holy Trinity School. It will have its own glassed-in vestibule and also will be accessible from the first phase of the Trinity Life Center. An existing kitchen in the school will be renovated and connected to Murphy Hall.
Since the parish broke ground for the project in May, construction crews have put up the steel skeleton, roof and walls. Once the building is enclosed, crews will be able to work on the interior throughout the winter, Deacon Kester said.
The first phase of the project, which was completed in 2002, connected the church and school with a large, airy gathering space, which also can be used for overflow capacity for Masses. On a floor below the gathering space, the parish added bathroom facilities and two large meeting rooms. Prior to the 2002 construction, parishioners had to go outside to get from the church to school and cross a steep road. The project also added an elevator, a gravel parking area and several handicapped-accessible parking spaces. Some parking areas will be paved as part of the second phase of the project.
The TLC project was split in two phases because the initial fundraising campaign raised $2.1 million in pledges, which fell short of the parish’s $2.5 million goal. The first phase cost about $1.8 million to build, and the remaining funds were used to do some infrastructure preparation for the second phase and to renovate a portable building that the school uses for before- and after-school care.
During a second fundraising campaign, the parish has raised more than $1.3 million and counting for phase II, which is expected to cost about $1.7 million. The parish is planning a Mardi Gras-themed fundraiser to coincide with its grand opening, Nicholson said.
“There are some things that will be needed that are not in this construction cost,” Deacon Kester said. “Those include bleachers, chairs and tables.”
Murphy Hall is named for Father Donald J. Murphy and Sister Francis de Sales Murphy, who are an uncle and aunt of parishioner Neil Murphy who with his wife, Val, made a contribution to the project in honor of their relatives.
Deacon Kester said one of the highlights of the new construction will be its God Bless America Window, which will be made of laminated glass. The window will feature an aerial image of North and South America with a cross highlighted in the center. The window was designed by Pike Stained Glass of Rochester and will be made by Arch Deco Glass of St. Louis, Mo., Deacon Kester said.
Nicholson said the gathering space built during the first phase of construction has been a hit. Another positive is that the parish campus is now connected and accessible for people with disabilities, he said.
“I think we have addressed everybody’s needs,” Nicholson said.
He said the TLC committee has been extremely dedicated to the project and has met every other week for 12 years.
“When I started this, my oldest son was in sixth grade,” Nicholson said. “He is now 25.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: To contribute to the project, make a check payable to Trinity Life Center and mail it to Holy Trinity Parish, 1460 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580.