This article appeared in the January/February/March 2012 issue of the parish newsletter at the time the Second Capital Campaign began. It is republished here to recall the development of our move to the Woodridge campus
Sharing Our Faith -
Securing Our Future
The Second Capital Campaign
In October 2011, St. Martha began our Second Capital Campaign, the theme of which is “Sharing Our Faith and Securing Our Future.” This Second Capital Campaign will begin to retire the remaining $18 million debt incurred from Phase 1 of our Long Range Master Plan: acquiring the property and constructing our new church, administration building and rectory. But to help understand our parish’s future, it is beneficial to take a look back at our journey so far.
About 10 years ago, shortly after Monsignor Borski arrived, he began to work with the Pastoral Council to discern how they would lead our parish. In February 2004, a survey was sent to every family registered in the parish seeking to understand wants and needs for ministries and facilities. Feedback from that survey highlighted many ministerial needs and the limitations of parking and meeting spaces.
Later that year the Building and Planning Committee, made up of parishioners with professional engineering, construction, legal and project management backgrounds, conducted a study of area demographics which forecast continuing rapid growth of our surrounding communities. At the time there were about 3,800 families registered in the parish, and the study projected that we would probably grow to over 6,000 families in 10 years with severe limits on our ability to meet their ministerial needs. Several options to address these challenges by expanding on the Woodland Hills campus and adjacent properties were explored, but none were viable. Consequently, the committee recommended to Monsignor Borski that the parish must consider a new, larger site. With his concurrence and support of the bishop, they then developed a Long Range Master Plan that would provide the facilities required by the growth and expressed needs of the parish family. Several properties within a reasonable distance were evaluated, and in September 2006, in anticipation of pursuing the Master Plan, the Archdiocese purchased the 35-acre site on which the new church now stands at a cost of $4.6 million.
In late 2006, St. Martha’s Finance Council engaged a fundraising consulting firm, Guidance and Giving (G&G), with a decade of experience assisting over 2,000 Catholic parishes across the nation, to help us understand the financial capacity we might have to begin making our Long Range Master Plan a reality. In April and May of 2007, G&G conducted a feasibility study in which 3,821 families registered in the parish were surveyed via direct mail, and 120 families were personally interviewed. Their report, in June 2007, recommended that we could achieve between $6 million and $7 million in a three year capital campaign without harming the regular offertory, and they advised that back-to-back campaigns over a 6 to 9 year period were feasible. Therefore, the parish could reasonably afford an initial investment of around $16 million toward the Master Plan. Following an extensive interview process, the Building and Planning Committee engaged the architectural firm of Turner Partners to provide a schematic estimate of the cost of components of the Master Plan. With these two sets of data in hand, the Master Plan was segmented into three phases. Phase 1 would include site development, the church, administration building and rectory. Phase 2 would be a daily chapel and family life center and Phase 3 would be an education complex for the school and religious education. The early schematic estimate put the cost of Phase 1 construction at about $15.7 million. Subsequently, JE Dunn was chosen to be the engineering and construction contractor for Phase 1.
In early 2007, a Liturgical Design Committee was formed to guide the interior design and functionality of the church. The committee was composed of 26 members with exceptional talent and extensive experience in liturgy, music, art and environment. They drew on resources of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission to assure conformity to church doctrine regarding the requirements and guidelines of designing and building a Catholic church. The committee was also aware of the results of the earlier survey that revealed the wants and needs of various ministries and parishioners in general. Recommendations from the Liturgical Design Committee were instrumental in defining the layout of the interior, design and placement of all artwork and statuary, and the selection of furnishings and finishing materials.
With permission from Archbishop DiNardo our First Capital Campaign was kicked off in April 2008 with a goal of $6 million to $7 million in a three-year timeframe. By mid-year $3.6 million had been pledged creating confidence that raised the campaign goal to $8 million and our investment affordability to a range of $18 million to $20 million.
By July 2008, TurnerDuran (name changed) and JE Dunn had completed more detailed design development evaluations of the project which raised the estimate for Phase 1 construction to $18.5 million due to increases of $1.5 million for site development, $1.2 million for the church, $150,000 for the administration building, and $35,000 for the rectory. In August, the Archdiocesan Savings and Loan
Committee authorized our parish to proceed with Phase 1 architectural and engineering development.
But then Hurricane Ike arrived! The Archdiocese suffered monumental property losses along the Gulf Coast and adopted guiding principles of extraordinary caution with respect to large capital projects.
After further reviews, we were allowed to continue the development of our project. Under normal circumstances, it had been the policy of the archdiocese to carry the cost of land for a new church until after buildings and improvements were paid off by the parish, but under these circumstances, we were asked to assume responsibility for the $4.6 million land loan at that time.
Over the next year the Building and Planning and Liturgical Design committees worked hand-in-hand with TurnerDuran and JE Dunn to detail and finalize all of the structural and design specifications of the project. During this time, cost estimates remained essentially unchanged, and periodic review meetings among representatives of the parish and the Archdiocese maintained support for the project. In October
2009 Cardinal DiNardo approved our proposal to begin Phase 1 construction and on November 29, 2009, presided over a groundbreaking ceremony at the site. St. Martha’s Finance Council members initiated negotiations with several banks to secure construction financing, and in February 2010 Monsignor Borski signed the loan agreement with Sterling Bank for a construction loan in the amount of $17,623,784.20 with an interest rate of 5 percent (to be reset at the end of 5 years) and a 15-year amortization. With this loan and the accumulating funding from the ongoing First Capital Campaign, it was expected that all costs incurred during the construction period would be covered.
Construction began with site preparation in January 2010 with completion projected at 13 months.
St. Martha’s engaged Rick Frantz, a parishioner and professional engineer, to be the Owner’s representative, monitoring progress on site almost daily. He and members of the Building and Planning Committee oversaw all work done at the site and held periodic progress review meetings with the architects, contractors, vendors, consultants and the Liturgical Design Committee to assure timely decisions regarding selections of materials, approval of scope changes, and resolution of any discrepancies during construction.
In the early months of 2010, very wet weather delayed site preparation, and in later months some supply and installation issues created further delays. Consequently, substantial completion of the church was achieved in July 2011. Cardinal DiNardo presided over the Mass of Dedication on August 12th, and we have been celebrating Mass and other liturgies in the new church ever since.
During construction it became evident that the actual cost of some components in the church design would be more than the earlier estimates. For example, the three large stained glass windows were estimated by the architects at about $30,000 each, but actually cost $73,500 each. Furnishings, audio and visual systems, liturgical elements and artworks were estimated at about $1.2 million but actually cost $2.2 million. In each instance alternatives were evaluated and decisions made to assure that the church would provide appropriate liturgical functionality and environment. On the other hand, costs of site development and the administration building were below estimates by nearly $600,000. The total over the July 2008 estimate for construction and furnishings was about $700,000. Other related items had not been included in earlier estimates. For example, the costs of conducting the First Capital Campaign (consultant fees, literature, receptions, mailings, staff support and the diocesan capital campaign tax) totaled nearly $600,000. Up front capital charges for our water district were $164,000. Accumulated interest on the construction loan as of year-end 2011 was $880,000. The final total cost of the project was nearly $26 million. The First Capital Campaign funded $8 million, leaving a debt of about $18 million.
Sharing Our Faith and Securing our Future
As Cardinal DiNardo said in his Dedication Mass homily, if we successfully invite all the Marthas, Marys and Lazaruses in Kingwood and surrounding communities to God’s house to share our faith: “…this church won’t be big enough.” We have already seen the evidence of the effect of sharing our faith through this new church. On the first weekend after dedication, we ran out of bulletins. We ordered 1,000 more for the next weekend and nearly ran out again. In the first two weekends we ran out of newcomer packets. Nearly 1,000 new families registered in 2011. Look around at each Mass and imagine fitting all those folks into the old church. So we are indeed sharing our faith.
To secure our future we must someday complete the Long Range Master Plan to provide all of the facilities needed for successive generations of St. Martha’s parishioners. But, before we can proceed to Phase 2 of the plan, we must retire the $18 million debt remaining from Phase 1. Our Second Capital
Campaign will begin that process with a goal to retire at least half of that debt in the next three years. We chose three years as the term of our campaigns because it may be difficult for families to make commitments beyond that sort of timeframe.
A Third Capital Campaign will almost certainly be necessary to complete the task, but the more we raise in the Second Capital Campaign, the less will be required of a third campaign, and the sooner we will be able to build Phase 2. There are a number of memorial gift opportunities available in the Second Capital Campaign including the “100 Tree Challenge.” The landscaping irrigation system was installed as part of construction, but planting on the new campus was delayed due to the drought. Now, with your help, we hope to get 100 trees planted in the parking lot medians and around the church by the end of March. In November you should have received a packet of information for the Second Capital Campaign. If not, you can find one on the literature cart in the church narthex. Please review the information provided and prayerfully consider making your pledge.
It took over 25 years to build St. Martha’s Woodland Hills campus and it will take a long time to complete our transition to the new campus. Monsignor Borski has reminded us that: “We must be patient and take the long view on our journey of furthering the mission of Christ at St. Martha’s with commitment and prayer”.
For more information, contact Theresa Miller at (281)358-6637 or email@example.com.