Initial exploratory efforts began 15 years ago with the Parish Council and then Bishop Michael Wiwchar. At that time we were approaching our 40th Anniversary as a parish and already it was recognized by Parish Leadership that a new building would be needed before long. Efforts renewed in earnest in late 2008 and 2009. Under the leadership of Fr Mykhailo Kuzma and with the support of Bishop Richard Seminack the Parish Council began to discuss, gather information and explore options. Open discussions in Parish Council meetings began to take a more purposeful shape. Initially spearheaded by Frank Avant, a current seminarian sponsored by our parish, a more formal Building Committee began to take shape comprised of Parish Council members, Financial Committee members, Brotherhood of St. Michael members and many other willing parishioners. This involved interviewing potential architects and builders, touring local Byzantine parishes, meeting with local Pastors, exhaustive fact finding on fundraising, maintenance and all areas of managing a new church building process. Over the following nearly two years, bids for were solicited, reviewed, discussed, vetted and revised in search of the most economical, reasonable, workable and appropriate solution for our Parish Community, bringing us to today.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Can’t we just renovate and expand our existing church building?
Although our Bishops had challenged us to expand and build new, we felt that this was the initial and preferred option and the group sought to bring it to reality. In requesting proposals, we first asked to be shown options of expanding and re-orienting the church so that in true Byzantine Ukrainian tradition, the altar faced East with the entrance to the church facing West. In the end, these options did not solve our accessibility challenges and could not achieve the increase in size that we need in order to plan for the future. The cost was equal to or more expensive that building a new church and as with all new renovation/ expansion projects, it would fall under current Village of Palatine building codes, governing accessibility, egress, parking, drainage, etc. In addition, it would leave us without a church to worship in for the entire building/expansion process and in the end would not meet our needs. The current plan, with village approval allows for us to continue using our existing church throughout almost all of the building process.
Are we abiding by Eparchial and Church Canon procedures?
As a priest and Pastor, Fr. Mykhailo is bound by Holy Orders of obedience to the Church, Eparchy and the Bishop’s leadership. Throughout the years and during this entire process, our Bishops have been supportive and encouraging to our parish in the need to grow to meet our parish community demands. Bishop Richard has not only given his blessing from the beginning, he has vocally and personally supported this project by his word and deeds, culminating with his presiding over the Pontifical Divine Liturgy on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary celebration and the blessing and planting of a Holy Cross on the spot where the new church will eventually rise. In addition, during his visit to our parish in September of 2011, His Beatitude, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shewchuk, was made aware of our desire to build a new church and shrine. By his very action of blessing two cornerstones for our eventual new church and his words, he empowered and encouraged us in this mission by telling us that if Jesus was first in our hearts, the funds would come and the new church would rise to the Glory of God. Father Mykhailo has met with the Bishop’s consulters, outlining our project and its costs and has received the necessary guidance and approvals based on the scope of our project.
Is this going to put the church in financial trouble?
No. During Fr. Mykhailo’s meeting with the Bishop’s consulters, they required that a minimum of 50% of the funds needed to be in-hand prior to beginning construction. As a Building Committee, we are committed to raising even more than that with a goal of acquiring 100% of the funds prior to construction. Our goal is to build the church with little or no mortgage debt for future generations.
Current Status of the New Church Project
Village Hearing (Winter 2012)
In order to begin work in earnest on a new construction project, groundwork needed to be laid and a great deal of fact finding and feasibility studies needed to be conducted to determine IF we could even build on our site. In order to do so, preliminary designs needed to be presented to the Village of Palatine, which incorporated soil samples, water table results, connection to village water supplies, easements, green space and minimum parking requirements for a building the size we would require. In addition, we needed to seek several variances, the first pertaining to the maximum height of the building which would allow for the construction of our central dome and second a shared parking agreement with Ukrainian American Youth Association. We also had an open meeting for the neighbors of our parish to answer questions and present the basic scope of the project. Many of the local residents attended and voiced their support. We felt it important to clear these hurdles prior to making a formal presentation of the new Church project to the entire parish community.
Contract with Eikona Studios / JL Moore and Connecting Spaces
Eikona Studios is located in Cleveland, Ohio and has over 30 years of experience in church renovation and design, developing and completing projects in the U.S., Canada and Europe and has received numerous awards. (web site: eikonastudios.com) They have partnered with JL Moore (jlmooreinc.com), an accomplished contractor that has been in business since 1973 and the architectural firm of Connecting Spaces (connectingspaces.com), also out of the Cleveland area, in order to put together a design/build plan that meets our needs and yet keeps the price within reason for a fully completed structure that does not need ongoing construction and includes all of the Liturgical art and design our parish will need.. The other bids we received were not able to deliver in all of these areas as we needed. References were unwavering in their support of these individuals/firms and their integrity. In the vetting process consensus was reached among our group that as the design/build lead on this project, Eikona Studios earned our trust as the ones that would most faithfully partner with us to create a true Ukrainian Byzantine traditional church to carry our parish community through the next 100 years.
Does this mean that local tradesmen and women will not be able to bid and work on our project?
No. From the beginning we made it known that we wanted to make as many opportunities available to the local trades as possible and JL Moore as the General Contractor has been more than supportive of this. A local geological company was enlisted to complete our soil borings and as construction begins, bids will be taken from local trades in order to get the most for every dollar we spend.
Is the existing design our only option?
As Fr. Mykhailo has stated from the beginning, the renderings we have, although they firmly represent the maximum “foot print” we can build on with the necessary village variances mentioned above, are still open to adjustment when it comes to the interior of the structure. In addition, Eikona Studios is developing a couple of different exterior elevations that will maintain the three dome design but give us some options. Lastly, the interior, under the supervision of our spiritual leader, Fr. Mykhailo, will be developed through discussion and feedback with a sub group of the Building Committee.
What will happen to our current church and many of the items that make it so special to us like the Bell tower, icons and windows?
As we move forward with the new church, it has always been important to us to preserve some of the special features of our existing church as an ongoing remembrance of our foundation. For these reasons, we have asked Eikona Sudios to develop a special location for our beloved Bell Tower where it can remain an ongoing symbol of our enduring faith, commemorating 1,000 years of Christianity in Ukraine. We also will be preserving the stained glass windows, several existing icons and will be incorporating a portion of the original brick into an exterior worship spot for our shrine.
COST of the BUILDING PROJECT:
The current contract cost of the New Church is $2.2million. This cost can be broken
down into 3 major categories:
1) Costs associated with complying with governmental requirements including ADA requirements (elevator); Village of Palatine Code requirements (parking, Water hook-up),etc
2) Construction Costs
3) Interior Finishes Costs
FUNDING THE PROJECT
To assist us in our fund raising campaign, we have secured the services of Foley Consulting, a veteran fund raising firm of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. With their help we have developed promotional materials and assembled a team of capable Ambassadors who will begin reaching out to the entire parish community in the near future. We expect the initial effort to take about 90 days, after which we will begin our outreach to the greater Ukrainian Catholic and professional community in the Chicago area and Midwest. With a generous response from our parish, we are hopeful that we can raise at least 50% of our targeted goal of $2.2M.
We hope this information helps further enhance the information we have already shared with the parish at our multiple all-parish meetings and shines a light on any areas that you may have still had lingering questions about.
We are eager to begin the Capital Campaign and look forward to taking the next big steps toward moving our parish forward into our next 50 years.
We wish you all of God’s Blessings and ask for your ongoing prayers.
The Building Committee
Rev. Mykhailo Kuzma, Pastor
Michael Panko, President
Stephen Kuropas, Vice President/ Fund Raising Chair
John Panko, Construction Chair
Oksana Kuzma, Interior Design Chair
Dr. John Bilos