Responses to Questions about the Expansion Design

 

How big will the expanded church be? Is it big enough?

The footprint of the worship space expansion is approximately 6,000 square feet. The current church sits approximately 300 persons, and the expanded church will accommodate over 600 persons. The proposed occupancy was derived from the expansion committee’s review of current town census data and future projections, as well as through discussions with the Archdiocese for ‘rule of thumb’ metrics for churches with similar demographics to Stouffville.

Will the parking lot be expanded? I don’t see any provisions on the site plan.

The short answer is yes! The extent of the requirements for parking are still being reviewed with respect to our proposed occupancy, current site limitations, surrounding environment and local town by-laws.  The requirement for expanded parking will be finalized when the design is ready for town approvals.

The current ceiling is low, will the ceiling in the expansion be low as well?

The height of the new expansion space will be nearly twice the height of the existing church. The connection between the existing and new will be treated in a way to create a harmonious and seamless space.

How will church overflow be managed? Especially at Christmas and Easter.

The mandate of the expansion was to increase the worship space to accommodate our ever-growing community. The overall design is based on the need to increase the seating capacity of our church and alleviate the current issues of overflow. Practically, Phase I provides us with an additional 300 seating capacity in excess of 600 seats with focus on the worship space. The new addition transforms the Church footprint into a Cruciform shape which works beautifully and evolves logically from what we have. With this addition, we will be able to worship as one community without having people viewing the Mass from the Parish Hall through the audio visual system.

How will the handicapped be accommodated in the expansion design? I don’t see an elevator...

Accessibility is an important design element to the church expansion and was carefully considered in all aspects of the building. The current church entrance is being maintained as it was fully accessible. Additional spaces for wheelchair or scooter parking in the worship space have been planned for. Proper barrier-free washrooms on the ground floor have been planned for. The pew aisles and spacing between the pews themselves will be widened for better access. One of the main challenges of the existing building was the poor connection between the church and hall (i.e. the foyer stair to hall).   The existing hall is not currently accessible by wheelchair. The common approach to solving this issue is with the installation of a restricted use elevator, as what is employed in other churches and schools. The downside, apart from capital costs to build and the costs of maintenance, was that the elevator would be key operated. Due to insurance and liability issues, each time one needed to use the elevator, one would need to locate the person with the key.   Given the gentle slope of the church property, it lent itself well to creating a level entrance to the hall at the south west side of the building. There was also the rationalization that activities that occur in the church hall seldom occur sequentially with activities in the worship space. A level access approach also allows for easier loading or unloading of goods to the hall, and provides a significant upgrade to the existing connection between the church hall and our western green space where in the summer, we host the church picnic and Totus Tuus activities. Notwithstanding, we will be continuing to analyze the potential capital, operation and maintenance costs of an elevator with respect to our budget limitations. Achieving an affordable budget will be key.

Access to the church hall from the south west end of the building seems far and inconvenient from the east front entrance of the church, and handicap parking. Can this be moved closer to the church entrance?

Please see above comments for placement of entrance with regards to site conditions. Additional handicap parking will be provided at the church hall level entrance. Along with our other accessibility considerations, this is still under review and our goal is to provide the safest and most convenient access routes for our parishioners requiring wheelchair accessibility.

Will there be any additional design features for the hearing impaired? Other churches have special systems installed, and flooring and wall finishes selected to enhance acoustics and halt all the echoing of sound waves.

At this time, we are considering all options for the acoustical qualities the expanded worship space may present. Specific acoustical equipment, materials and finishes will be carefully considered to enhance and improve the overall worship experience of our expanded church.

Is there an opportunity to have an Adoration chapel that could be accessible any time of day?

The concept of an Adoration chapel was not specifically considered as part of Phase 1 work required to meet the immediate need of an expanded overall worship space. As we move forward into the design development stage of the project, we will revisit the possibility of an adoration chapel within the current footprints.

Please comment on the Choir location and location where incense may be burned. The incense fumes bother the voices of the choir.

The choir has an indispensable role within our church and the Phase 1 design locates the choir to the north side of the sanctuary in the expanded worship space and will allow for an open sound to reverberate through the space. With the expanded church volume, increased size of the sanctuary, and greater distance from the altar to the choir location, we feel the issue with incense will be mitigated. While incense can advance throughout the church, attention will be paid to keep incense at an ideal distance from the choir.

Will the crying room be expanded, and will it have proper pews and kneelers?

The addition of more pews and kneelers will be balanced with the need to continue to provide adequate space for strollers and car/baby seats that are typically brought into the space. Our goal is to incorporate both improved seating and adequate space for baby seats etc., for all who will use the crying room.

Will there be a pre-mass recorded gong or bell to help the congregation to become quiet and enter into a prayerful state?

The use of a pre-mass recording has not been currently considered, but as all things, is open for further discussion. The current ringing of the bell to indicate the opening procession will continue.

Will the current sound system be upgraded or replaced?

The communication of the spoken word and devotional music is vitally important. The current sound system will be updated to enhance the sanctuary acoustics of our expanded church.

Is there an opportunity for a dedicated childrens’ nursery during mass?

As this is a relatively new request for program space, it was not considered in the current design and budget has not been set aside for the inclusion of a dedicated nursery space. Further discussion on the concept of a nursery will be necessary to see whether it can be accommodated in the existing design footprint and budget limitations, and that its utility will enhance the function of our church. We are aware other churches in our community have included a nursery space and we will be examining its inclusion and function in their buildings. 

We welcome and appreciate all parishioner feedback and questions regarding the proposed Church Expansion. Please feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your continued support,

God Bless.

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