NAPOLEON — It’s been five months since construction of the new St. Augustine Center in Napoleon started, but in a few short months, the project across the street from St. Augustine Catholic Church on Clinton Street is expected to be completed.

According to Rev. Doug Garand of St. Augustine, the Building and Sustaining Our Legacy capital campaign kicked off in 2019, and to date has raised the necessary $1.1 million to pay for the cost of building the center. Despite some setbacks due to COVID-19, the project is on time and on budget.

“We’re closing in now, with a completion date some time in April,” said Garand about the project that is being led by Rupp Rosebrock of Napoleon. “Bishop (Daniel) Thomas will be here on Mothers Day (May 9) for the Sacrament of Confirmation and to bless the building.

“The project has been going very well, I’m very pleased with the work,” continued Garand. “We had some delays due to COVID, but fortunately it hasn’t set us back in completing the building on time. A lot of work is happening now, and carpeting should be installed next week.

“The building was under roof and insulated before the snow, which was also a blessing,” added Garand.

The 7,000-square-foot facility will include staff offices; storage areas; the St. Monica Meeting & Gathering Room (named for the mother of St. Augustine); the St. Ambrose Meeting Room (who baptized St. Augustine); the St. Anthony of the Desert Meeting Room (who influenced St. Augustine); restrooms; a warming kitchen; and the church’s St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.

“The St. Monica Room is the primary meeting room, we will hold large gatherings here and our Life Teen Youth Group will meet here as well,” said Garand. “It offers that flexibility of a larger space with a higher ceiling for games and events that our youth would do at Life Teen.

“St. Anthony of Desert Room is another room we can use for meetings, Bible studies, RCIA and so forth,” added Garand. “The St. Ambrose Room is yet another meeting room that gives us extra space to have more than one meeting at a time. It’s striking, because it has four Gothic-pointed windows that mimic the church.”

The main entrance of the center is located on Clinton Street, with church offices located to the right when people enter the building. Included in that area is a kitchenette for staff. A warming kitchen is located behind the St. Monica room, and the food pantry, with a separate double-door entrance, is in the back of building.

“This has been a long time coming, we’ve been working on this for six years,” said Garand. “Within six months of my arrival, we met with people of the parish to seek ideas to what the parish needed to carry out our ministries to better serve the people of St. Augustine’s and the Napoleon community.

“One of the first things on the list, we knew we needed office space,” continued Garand. “We had two mobile units that were a temporary solution for office space when they were put in, but they were here for 20-some years. People are ready for this, and the parish is excited and proud of the accomplishment of this center.”

Garand also is excited the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry will have its own space. The pantry shared space in the mobile units all those years, which led to a lot of work for the people who ran it and its volunteers.

“They had a room in the middle of our old office space, and the pantry could only operate when the offices were closed,” said Garand. “It’s nice they have their own space, own entrance and own office. That will allow them to meet with people and to provide the privacy people should be afforded when seeking help.

“Our goal was to make it easier for the people of the pantry because of all the work they do to run it,” added Garand. “Now they have a double door to bring in a whole pallet at a time, and the space to set up without having to move things around so much like they had to do before in the old space.”

According to Garand, people continue to donate to the Building and Sustaining Our Legacy capital campaign.

That money will be used for brick replacement on the church steeple; installation of new windows at St. Augustine Catholic School (located next to the church); replacement of the lift at the church with an elevator; as well as painting, pew restoration and new flooring for the church.

“Once this building is completed, we hope to have some money in place to start some work over at the church and school (the roof of the school was replaced due to necessity),” said Garand. “But the interior of the church, painting and restoration of the church was planned already, which we will do when we can.”

The total cost for all projects, including the St. Augustine Center, is an estimated $2.3 million.

To learn more about the projects, or to donate, call 419-592-7656 or go to www.staugie.net.

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