Church Renovation Project • Review and Update • March 5, 2018

Now that construction has begun, we wanted to review how we got here and where we’re headed. Our Renovation efforts have been determined by direct input from you, our parishioners, via the 2015 Feasibility Study.  The projects identified, in order of their respective parishioner priorities, were as follows:

  • New audio and video system, including a hearing-loop system (transmits magnetic sound to hearing aids).
  • Removal of interior wall; reimagine and blend area into new aesthetic.
  • New heating/ventilation/air-conditioning system (HVAC).
  • New flooring; refinish and beautify walls and doors; new glassed-in entrance to the Nave.
  • Accessibility improvements: install elevator, enlarge elevator lobby, add stairs and modifications to the Mall entrance area.
  • Reconfigure aisles, install new pews.
  • New Baptistery, new Choir space, improved music equipment/choir storage.
  • New working Sacristy, new stained-glass windows, new Stations of the Cross.
  • New and classic Altar; overall beautification of Sanctuary.

The total project cost estimate presented during the Capital Campaign was $2.5 million, based on our Concept Design drawings.  These drawings were just that; concepts to determine if the project was feasible.  Donations by the end of 2015 were minimal but growing, and pledges were looking great, thanks to you.

December 2015 marked the beginning of the Preliminary Design:

  • Performed analyses and hired specialty engineers to identify potential problem areas to reduce program risk.
  • Developed design drawings through a local architectural firm.
  • Updated budget estimates.

17 Dec 2015 – Pre-Application Conference (PAC) with the City of Prescott regarding the feasibility of our plans for the remodel.  They gave us a go-ahead.  However in subsequent meetings on site we were informed that if we added any additional square footage to the current structure we would be required to install a fire sprinkler system throughout the entire building.  We considered this, even though it would have represented a large increase in costs.

21 Jan 2016 – Structural Analysis completed of the church ceiling/roof structure.  Our building was built in 1968 not to exceed then current building codes.  The codes have increased since, thus no additional loads can be added without reducing current loads or adding costly structural elements.  This meant that we could not install a Fire Sprinkler system and it also changed our conceptual design on the elevator, which became a stand-alone building without adding square footage to the current building.

Nov 2015 to Aug 2017 – Multiple HVAC companies submitted preliminary estimates for updating/replacement of our 48-year old system.  We require a replacement of the system, though many of the ducts throughout the building will be re-used.  The HVAC system is the most expensive line item in the overall project.

May 2016 – Diocese approval for the elevator

Aug 2016 – Michael Taylor Architects, Inc. (MTAI) contracted as our principal design architect for the project.  They are/were the highest recommend commercial architect for the Prescott and Yavapai County area.  We needed to have a local architect that has a solid professional relationship with the city of Prescott, through whom all of our plans are required to be approved.

Jun 2016 – Acoustic Analysis of the Nave to provide the basis for the acoustical design supporting improved audio capabilities, (the Parishioners number one item).  This analysis based on insitu measurements provided detail design requirements for the actual modifications to be completed in the Nave.

At this juncture, we developed a two-phase plan for the renovation: Phase I was to get the elevator building developed and completed; Phase II encompassed the rest of the project. Through numerous meetings and working sessions with MTAI, the conceptual drawings were refined into detailed build plans—initially for the Elevator or Phase I, and then for the remainder of the project in Phase II.

Apr 2017 – Stained-glass windows. Even though this was nominally a Phase II line item, it was moved forward for the sake of showing progress and beautifying the church. Developed detailed procurement package with statement of work, specifications and bid instructions.  Reviewed by the Diocese of Phoenix for process and liturgical approval prior to being mailed out to ten potential suppliers located throughout the USA.  We selected DOMCAT out of Florida, using a highly disciplined procurement procedure for not only this but all of our vendor selections.*   The stained-glass windows were installed week of 6 Nov 2017.

* Our Vendor Selection team is led by our Pastor, Fr. Darrin, with a minimum of two additional members locally, and evaluation summary and results validated by the Diocese of Phoenix.  We have met with, and are still meeting with, numerous potential suppliers for many of the items that are required for the Renovation.  For instance, and as an example of some of the delays we’ve encountered: By late 2016 we had bids from several elevator suppliers and we finalized selection in early 2017.  This permitted Phase I plans (for the elevator) to be finalized and submitted for city approval in Jun 2017.  We sent the package out for selection of the prime contractor and evaluated four competitive proposals of local commercial contractors.  We selected B’s Contractors.  They commenced on site work 5 Oct 2017 and on 10 Oct found the primary power cable to the main building on the very site where the elevator is to be built.  That required plans and permits to move that cable by APS which was completed on 21 Feb 2018, allowing elevator construction to re-start on 26 Feb.

Aug 2017 – Asbestos Testing – Nave, Vestibule and Library areas tested for asbestos; we discovered that we were required to have an asbestos abatement plan.

Nov 2017 – Photometric Lighting Analysis performed to determine new lighting layout.

Dec 2017 – Asbestos Abatement, Spray Systems awarded a contract by SHC to perform this environmentally sensitive procedure.  They are responsible for all City, County, State and Federal permits for this activity.  The removal of all the gypsum boards in the ceiling reduced overall weight loads.  This permitted us to apply new improved insulation, helping maintain good stewardship, acoustic absorption for the renovations, and install a light weight suspended metal panel with wood look matching Pew color.  Expect start date: 5 Apr 2018.

20 Dec 2017 – Awarded contract to New Holland Furniture for our Pews, benches and chairs out of four qualified suppliers.  Their representative has also assisted us in color selection for the Pews and kneelers.  He has 35 years of experience and is/has been instrumental in the color schemes in about 100 different new or major renovated churches per year.  Additionally, we have visited numerous other churches and suppliers for Pews, Altars, Ambos and other Liturgical items which have provide the basis or our overall color/aesthetic look for our renovations.  A sample Pew and Chair have been delivered; all color selections or palette evaluation has been reviewed not only by the building committee led by Fr. Darrin, but also by an Architectural Interior Designer with over 40 years of experience and numerous parishioners. Presentations to the Pastoral Council and Finance Council are scheduled for March.

22 Dec 2017 – MTAI submitted to the City our detailed plans for the Phase II efforts.  The detailed design incorporates the HVAC plans, suspended ceiling, new lighting, new speakers and acoustic system, wiring and infrastructure for future video considerations, new gypsum ceiling for the Vestibule, Library, Choir and above the sanctuary areas.  We will apply insulated gypsum wall coverings over the slump block on the east and southern wall, leaving the rectangular columns exposed.

27 Dec 2017 – Submitted Phase II plans to Diocese of Phoenix (via link) for review.

1 Feb to 9 Feb 2018 – SHC negotiated B’s Contractors contract; reduced by 10.7%.

14 Feb 2018 – Submitted Phase II B’s Contract to Diocese of Phoenix for Approval.

26 Feb 2018 – City of Prescott approved Phase II Plans.

27 Feb 2018 – Diocese of Phoenix approved the budget for Phase II; contract is in work to award to B’s Contractors.  Estimate to completed by 5 Mar 2018 on schedule.

Current activities are;

  • Evaluating Altar, Ambo, Stations of the Cross, and miscellaneous furnishings and suppliers.
  • Monitoring on-going elevator construction.
  • Performing required trade analysis to assess feasibility and affordability of all components.

Since 2015, when the initial conceptual estimates were developed, the following items have resulted in an overall increase in costs:

  • Elevator as stand-alone building
  • Asbestos abatement
  • HVAC replacement
  • Audio/Video – Detailed analysis has optimized the Nave for acoustics
  • Ceiling Costs – Light-weight steel with wood-look paneling
  • Light Fixtures – photometric analysis performed to determine optimal level of lighting required for the new Nave.
  • Inflation – Initial estimates made in 2015 when the economy was still in a recession and costs were significantly less than what they are now.  The last year has seen a much-improved economy and greatly increased demand for contract labor and materials.

—Greg Watts, Project Manager



• Seating 

Question: Will the seating capacity change?

Answer: The purpose of the renovation is not to expand the seating capacity, nor, in fact, are we able to given Prescott’s code restrictions as noted above. However with the removal of the wall, the new entrance, modification to the sanctuary and larger main aisle, the seating configuration will change, though the seating capacity will remain steady at the current 885.  

• Pews, Kneelers, and Noise

Question: Will there be new pews?  Will new kneelers be attached to the floor or the pews?

Answer: Yes, there will be new pews and kneelers.  The new pews are required due to the new layout associated with removing the wall, enlarged entrance area from the vestibule to nave, choir area modifications and more efficient use of floor space.  The kneelers will be connected to the pew (not to the floor as they are now).  They will have a design to reduce noise when lowered or raised.  There are shock absorbers or slide type hardware that can do this.  

• Mass during Construction

Question: Will we still be able to have Mass during the renovation?

Answer: We will be displaced for a while during the renovation process of the Nave, but weekend Masses will continue to be held in the school gym. Daily Mass will be held in the downstairs Forum. The location for Funerals and Weddings will be discussed per each individual situation. It is expected that our Perpetual Adoration Chapel will continue to be open throughout.

• Current Confessional and Sacristy Areas

Question: Will the confessionals and sacristy areas be modified?

Answer: There are no current plans to modify the existing Confessional or Sacristy areas.  

• The Working Sacristy

Question: What is meant by a “working Sacristy”?  How will we enter it?

Answer: In the renovation plans, the working Sacristy behind the altar contains the chalice, paten, altar linens and Holy Oils.  Our existing sacristy will remain to keep vestments where clergy will change to perform the Mass as well as the cleaning area and sacrarium.  There are two doors for entering the proposed working sacristy, one on each end.

• The Bell Tower

Question: Will we ring the bell again?  Are there any plans to modify it?

Answer: During the feasibility study, this item received the lowest priority of all items and has been tabled for the time being due to budget constraints. However, we have considered putting a small pyramid-shape roof on top, with a new well-lighted cross to provide both an aesthetically pleasing look for Sacred Heart and protection to the bells.  Likewise, we have considered the use of motor-driven bell ringers that would be controlled electronically.  In the past the physical cables allowed rain water to leak into and flood the basement.  The existing structure has also resulted in corrosion and the seizing up of the cables. Hopefully we will be able to address the Bell Tower sometime in the future.