Construction of a 22,975-square-foot addition to St. Brendan the Navigator Catholic Church, 4475 Dublin Road in Hilliard, is expected to begin this summer, and it would be funded by the parish's $6.7 million pledge for the first phase of the expansion.

"As soon as school is out (May 30), we would start construction," said the Rev. Bob Penhallurick, pastor of the church.

Future phases include additional construction and renovations that would total 25,100 square feet of new construction and 8,525 square feet of renovated space on the 74,205-square-foot campus.

The addition this summer would be the first phase of four, but none of the phases would enlarge the church's nearly 1,000-seat sanctuary.

Instead, it will allow for the expansion of the church's programs and its school, Penhallurick said.

The church's sanctuary is adequate for the 3,016 families that are members at St. Brendan, Penhallurick said, and an average of 2,800 people attend the multiple services each Sunday. Most members are from Hilliard, Dublin, Upper Arlington and northwest Columbus, according to Colleen Speer, director of development at St. Brendan.

The addition will "bring us all under one roof," spiritually and literally, Penhallurick said.

Currently, a driveway passes between the sanctuary and the St. Brendan School classrooms.

The first phase would include the construction of new meeting spaces under a roof that would connect the sanctuary to classrooms at the school for kindergarten through eighth grade.

The first phase, which is the largest of the four planned, includes relocated church offices, a child-care area, a student-learning center, a kitchen, additional restrooms and an expanded school cafeteria.

The first phase also would include an "adoration chapel," Penhallurick said.

It could be used by parishioners who prefer a small, quaint chapel for weddings or funerals, for instance, but also as a place for prayer.

The chapel also could be made available for prayer 24 hours a day to church members using a keycard to enter, Penhallurick said.

"We are building capacity and opportunity," Speer said.

The church's blueprint was designed after listening to parishioners, she said.

"We didn't dream them up," Speer said. "We asked for their input and what they wanted. It was driven by our community and our plan reflects that."

That effort began in 2016 with a study to determine the parish's most critical needs and from that study, a standalone building was designed and presented to the parish for consideration last year, she said.

"Unfortunately, we quickly learned that the proposed parish center design would not address all the identified needs," Speer said.

Earlier this year, the parish established the ONE – Our Navigator Expansion – campaign and it also refers to "One Faith, One Family, One Future," Speer said.

The ONE campaign was launched in mid-September and as of early December, about $3 million of the $6.7 million required for the first phase had been pledged, Penhallurick said.

"I'm confident we will get all $6.7 million (pledged) by the end of March," he said.

If successful in achieving the pledges, construction could begin with a loan from the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, a loan that would be reimbursed with the pledges paid during the next three years, according to Penhallurick.

If all $6.7 million in pledges is met, Penhallurick said, the church also could consider additional phases as soon as next year.

Smaller capital-giving campaigns would be needed in the future to fund the subsequent phases, he said.

"The more we can do sooner, the lower the total cost," because construction costs generally increase with time, Penhallurick said.

The second phase, estimated at $200,000, consists of renovating the unattached parish offices into small meeting rooms and for storage.

The third phase, estimated at $150,000, includes remodeling and expanding the school's kitchen and building new restrooms.

The fourth phase, estimated at $750,000, is a building addition to serve as a preschool and early education center.

The need for immediate and additional meeting space is perhaps best exemplified by the women's faith group, "Walking with Purpose," Speer said.

The group's membership is limited to about 130 women because of limits on meeting spaces, she said.

St. Brendan last was renovated in 1998 when a rectory was added to the campus.

It was expanded in 1992 when school classrooms were added.

This year, 464 students are enrolled at St. Brendan School.

Enrollment is expected to increase to 485 next year but the number has fluctuated in the recent past, Penhallurick said.

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