HOLY FAMILY CHURCH MASTER PLAN LISTENING SESSION NOTES
The notes below reflect discussion at various ‘listening sessions’ conducted by Cuningham Group at Holy Family Parish and School during June, 2019. The following outline summarizes Listening Session topics and our observations based on other primary education projects. A typical meeting agenda started with members of the Cuningham Group explaining the purpose of the meeting, followed by each invited person around the table briefly talking about their role in the parish and/or school. Most people then went on to offer opinions about how the facilities at the campus supported their activities and ministries – or not. The interchange between those attending the meetings was informal, open and respectful, if not strictly organized. The Topical Index for each session attempts to summarize the discussion. You will note many repeated topics, which are finally summarized at the end of this report.
West Campus Site
- Greening the Campus: Many people talked about creating a welcoming pedestrian experience when entering and circulating around the west campus. They also related anecdotes about existing on-site parking issues vs. school playground use at the west campus, east campus parking use related to west campus activities, issues around the school drop-off and pick-up loop, and the current perimeter fencing system. We learned about the history of neighborhood traffic pattern control as it relates to activities on the west campus.
- Fremont Street: Everyone acknowledged the difficulties presented by Fremont Street splitting the campus – a fact of life that forces early decisions regarding future development of programs and space. Based on existing patterns, we began to think in terms of adult and young adult compatible with uses on the east campus, and student use consolidated on the west campus. The remaining question that therefore arose has been ‘what would an east campus middle school look like’. Based on our listening sessions it sounds like most of the participants did not prefer a separate middle school campus at the east side of the street
Parish Hall and Pastoral Center Programs and Facilities
- Parish Hall: Most appreciated the programs presented in the existing Parish Hall and adjacent kitchen facility, with the exception of complaints about disruption of pastoral center uses during theatrical productions. We did not hear any strong opinions supporting the addition of an athletic program to this room.
- Pastoral Center Access: There were several complaints about easy way-finding to the pastoral center for those not already familiar with the west campus.
- Pastoral Center Use: Most users of the pastoral center space agreed that many of the office spaces remained unused during many of the weekly hours. They also expressed the need for more small meeting spaces for pastoral ministry use. Many talked about favorite places in this building, including the bookstore and chapel areas, and recommended upgrades to these spaces.
- Church Building Use: We heard of changes in use of the church consistent with global trends in the local catholic church such as: an aging and smaller church-going population, fewer weddings and more funerals. We did not hear of any planning for interior liturgical updates for the space beyond lighting and access.
- Church Building Maintenance: As one of the oldest buildings on the site, we were not surprised to hear of consideration of building seismic improvements, lighting upgrades, access improvements, and sacristy upgrades.
Pastoral Outreach Programs and East Campus
- Ministry Programs: A truly outstanding component of our listening sessions included hearing of the very active outreach programs happening at Holy Family Parish. These leaders passionately expressed their need to at least maintain the current programs and even consider expanding them. We took away a feeling that in most cases, the existing facilities simply need to be improved to better support these existing programs.
- Parking: There was minimal discussion about increasing parking at the east campus, perhaps by adding a subterranean or overhead level – or even incorporating additional parking in a new multi-use building to replace Eden Center. We heard these ideas in the context of a ‘future’ development.
St. Joseph Center
- Interior Improvements: Because it is considered ‘historical’ in local registers, no one recommended exterior changes to the St. Joseph Center building. However, several obvious interior improvements were discussed, depending on the program in question.
- Repurposing: There was some talk of repurposing the assembly space in the building as a performance venue for the young people.
- Homeless Programs: In one case, we heard that some relatively simply permanent added space improvements adjacent to the Eden Center would support the homeless outreach into the future, while at the same time resolve potential problems between this ministry and other campus uses.
- Interior Improvements: Due to the large number of group ministries working out of this building, there was discuss about a flexible divider at the large center space to increase spaces for small group use, while at the same time maintain the ability for occasional using the entire room.
- Individual Learning: Based on the overall listening session input and Cuningham’s office-wide experience, we believe that evolving learning theory and resulting education trends will continue to move toward personalizing teaching methods with the development of spaces that support small group activities, physical making spaces, sports activities, art, language, and respond to a constant call for smaller class size. This will translate to a long term commitment to program leadership as well as creation and adjustment of physical spaces.
- Teacher/Student Ratio: Consistent with Cuningham’s national experience, budget considerations will likely limit simply increasing the teacher count and space count to reduce the teacher/student ratio. A more likely outcome will support the continuation of your current practice to pair an aide with each teacher.
- Early Childhood Programs: Based on benefits to a portion of the student population most in need of early enrichment, early childhood programs will remain very important parts of services to young families with children. This program growth, however, is balanced by erosion of institutional loyalty due to greater family mobility, pervasive social communication, and competing available programs.
- Groups within Groups: The teaching environment at the Education Center should support the school teaching team as well as peer group formation among Middle school age students.
- Embedded Technology: Technology will continue to shape a large portion of student’s lives inside the classroom and beyond. Middle School students need to learn how to access, select, and use the technology embedding in twenty-first century classrooms. School libraries, as we heard, will continue to act as information distribution centers, expanding beyond managing hard copy books to teaching how to acquire knowledge through new media resources and provide a variety of small spaces to pursue gathering and using this information.
- Split Campus: We heard strong parish and school support for the continued use of the west campus for the entire school (early, elementary, and middle) population together with the religious education programs – if this is at all possible.
- Divide Existing Interior Classroom Space: In lieu of physically splitting spaces to achieve more individual teaching environment, acoustic control measures and soft partitions might allow formation of learning suites, and the use of the same room space by multiple smaller learning groups.
- Builder Space: Repurposing selected areas as maker spaces can add an attractive teaching opportunity to a portion of the student population.
- Theater and Art: We heard many stories relating to how the ongoing theater programs at Holy family presented the best learning time for many students. Theater proponents advocate for a more permanent space for storage of costumes and props as well as a possible theatre space all its own.
- Athletics: Providing a space for indoor athletics seems to have broad support across many of the listening session participants. However, we clearly heard that to successfully accomplish this task at Holy Family, a new building project would necessarily include additional spaces that attract a range of users, including adults and outside community members.
Dear Holy Family Parishioners,
It is with great excitement that we announce the official launching of the Holy Family Master Plan. Throughout the last four years, a group of parishioners and community leaders have met to discern the future needs and desires of Holy Family with the objective of sustaining our growth and vitality as a parish for future generations. After many meetings and discussions, the Master Plan Committee and Church leadership are ready to move forward with a Master Plan that will identify critical needs for the parish to address.
Holy Family has always been at the forefront of change. We embrace change boldly, with the energy and support of parishioners like you, and friends within the greater community. Likewise, Holy Family has consistently recognized the needs for the future, in order to provide its parishioners, staff, students, parents, and school faculty and staff with a fully operative and serviceable parish and school, where its goals and objectives are well-planned and facilities are kept up-to-date with today’s technology and demands.
Our aspirations are high. We aim to empower our community with the tools and confidence to go out into the world and make it better. We have worked hard to make our campus an attractive, safe, and spiritual space. Our campus must reflect our longstanding heritage of being a beacon of hope and light to those who come here to worship, work, volunteer, study, celebrate and receive the sacraments. Additionally, we are committed to growing our community and reaching out to those in need while sustaining the faith of our existing members, especially during this challenging time in the life of the Roman Catholic Church locally, nationally and universally. Our school is an important resource to the community and it is imperative to us that it stays academically, athletically, spiritually and mentally healthy and competitive. In order to maintain our standards, we need to ensure that our educational strategies and technology are current, and most importantly, that we continue to provide a loving, respectful and faith-filled context for learning and growth. Thus, we invite you to join us as we finalize our Master Plan and we encourage you to engage with us on this journey of reflection and growth.
After an extensive search process, we have secured the architectural services of the Cuningham Group, led by Project Architect Dan Young, to assist us with the “Pre-Design Phase” of the Master Plan Process. Throughout the last two months, Dan and his team conducted over 15 “Listening Sessions” with parish staff, ministry leaders, school faculty and staff, and other leadership groups within the parish, to assess the goals, needs and desires of our many constituencies. Now that their initial research is complete, Cuningham will put together an assessment of their findings, which they will share with the parish in September. Additionally, they will share some options of what our Master Plan could look like, including building renovations, new buildings, and proposed site elements such as parking and outdoor gathering spaces. The Cuningham Group would like to hear your feedback before refining the options further. All are welcome to attend either of these “Community Feedback Sessions” to learn more and share your thoughts:
Community Feedback Sessions
Tuesday, September 3rd at 7:00 p.m. in Connolly Hall
Saturday, September 7th at 9:00 a.m. in Connolly Hall
We are excited by the overwhelming interest in this project thus far! Once the information and sharing is complete, we will present our Master Plan to the Archdiocese in November for their approval. If approved, we will conduct a “feasibility study” of parishioner interviews and surveys to assess the support of the Master Plan within the parish. If the feasibility study proves positive, we will launch a capital campaign for support of the proposed project.
With your participation we hope to create an improved campus that will be an example to the community of ongoing stewardship to our parishioners, neighbors and those whom we provide important services to, as well as representing our welcoming community of faith. For more information about the Master Plan, the Cuningham Group and pertinent dates, please visit the Holy Family website at www.holyfamily.org/masterplan and click on CuninghamGroup_Holy Family_Church
Parish Life Director
HOLY FAMILY MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE
Michael Udell, Chair
Cambria Tortorelli, Parish Life Director
Darcie Girmus, Principal, Holy Family School
Mary Hatton, Director of Parish Stewardship
Jane Lee, Business Manager
Patricia Plescia, Director of Operations
Shannon Porter, Director of School Advancement