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Brooklyn's Sacred Heart Parish plans new Fellowship Hall

On Wednesday, March 18, Sacred Heart Parish shared their plans for building a new fellowship hall with Brooklyn neighbors.

The meeting at Sacred Heart Church was moderated by Pastor Bob Barricks, and included historical photos and information about the 120-year-old church. Adjacent Gregory Hall and Sacred Heart School were demolished in 2005, in order to build the Sacred Heart Villa housing complex.

At that time, Sacred Heart moved their gathering place to the smaller, less adequate Rectory building, just north of the church. With the need for a larger gathering place, the church has been investigating construction of a new Fellowship Hall just north of the Rectory at the former Sacred Heart School site.

Gregory Hall served for 92 years as a place for receptions, dinners, and the annual Rummage Sale, and is sorely missed by the congregation. The Rectory building has more awkward access, is crowded, and has low ceilings. Consequently, Sacred Heart has explored the option of a new hall for fifteen years.

Last fall the committee met with the city to discuss a conditional use permit to develop the site for a one-story, 5,000-square-foot Fellowship Hall. “We want to listen to neighbors’ concerns over design and parking issues,” assured committee representative Ed Hostman. “We are going through an on-going process right now, and we want to maintain transparency.”

Sutton & Godwin Architecture came up with a tentative plan for the site. Architect Kevin Godwin displayed aerial views of the proposed building, and said it’s hoped to keep the total price to under $1 million. “There will be no basement, and we plan to add more parking spaces in the back,” he said.

“Since there will be a maximum setback of ten feet from S.E. 11th Avenue, we expect one entrance to be near the southwest corner of the building, with main access on the east side, across from parking. The new hall would have the same Gothic design elements as the Rectory and Sacred Heart Church. The city was very receptive to the design and plans, but it will be a lengthy process.”

Although some parishioners say they feel that the money could be more wisely spent on rehabilitating the old Rectory building, a new Fellowship Hall as envisioned would complement the Sacred Heart complex, and would also be pleasing to neighbors. A final decision has not yet been made, and there still needs to be a vote on the plan. However, neighbors who were invited to the meeting seemed pleased with the church’s efforts at transparency, and were told that the church definitely plans to keep them in the loop about design and parking issues.

The meeting concluded with refreshments in the basement of the Rectory building, including further conversations with the architect and committee members.