Building Our Future Together

The Full Story of Building Our Future Together

We are grateful to God for both the journey and the accomplishments of Building Our Future Together. Read about this significant grace in the life of our parish. We thank Linda Schwartz for crafting this story of our parish family!   Booklet   Appendix

A Quick History

In 2011, structural problems in St. Thomas More School were discovered and the building was deemed unsafe for occupancy. After wide consultation and prayerful reflection, our pastoral council made the painful decision to close St. Thomas More School. For several years, Religious Education classes for grades K-8 took place at Holy Trinity and we were without a parish social hall.

In November 2014, Fr. Brian Konopa appointed a commission of parish members (listed below), chaired by Dn. Richard Sage, under the name "Building Our Future Together." The commission met for the first time in December 2014. That session and the first parish meeting in January 2015 were chiefly a review of the history of our parish and buildings. (You can read a chronology of events in our parish history from 1945 to the formation of the commission.) Also presented at the parish meeting was a video to enable everyone to understand the school building's present condition.

The commission then spent several months interviewing parish groups to firm up a list of facility needs and dreams. That list became the basis for evaluating three options:

A) Rehabilitate the existing school buildings
B) Dismantle the 1947 building, rehabilitate the 1956 wing, and build a new, one-story parish hall
C) Dismantle the school buildings and build a new, two-story parish hall and education center

All three options were given vigorous and thorough consideration. Ultimately, the commission selected option C. This decision and and everything that went into it were shared with the parish in May 2015. Along the way, updates appeared frequently in the parish bulletin. We invite you to explore them in the bulletin archive. The May 2015 presentation (PDF) contains images and financial details.

Plans called for a building project of four phases (see below), all of which are now completed.

Master Plan in Four Phases

  1. Removal of the school building and construction of a storage shed were completed in 2016. Construction of a parking lot on the northeast corner of the campus was completed in June 2017.

  2. We began construction of the new parish hall in June 2017 and took occupancy of the main floor in February of 2018. (You can watch a time-lapse video of its construction.)

  3. We began finishing the lower level of the parish hall early in 2018. The Religious Education Center now includes large, brightly lit classrooms, office and practice space for our musicians, and a comfortable space for adult faith formation.

  4. Improvements in our church included repair of the stained-glass windows, a new organ and choir space, refinishing the pews, and repairing the steeple. We also replaced the steam heating pipes with a hot-water system and made other liturgical improvements.

Commission Members

Original members of the BOFT commission included:
Deacon Richard Sage (deceased), chair
Chuck Berendes, attorney, parish trustee, and chair of the Pastoral Council
Betty Brendel, recording secretary
Bill Brendel, construction
Linda Elsen, financial secretary
Kathy Emmert, communications
Andy Foley, director of building and grounds
Linda Gillette, fundraising
Pat Houlihan, attorney
Bob Jansen, sound and lighting systems
Bob Jansky, communications
Jim Kirchner, construction
Bob Klar, plumbing and HVAC
Hank Klos, construction engineer
Fr. Brian Konopa, pastor
Paul Lansing, fundraising
Steve Orlan
Tiny Poellinger, electric
Kevin Renley, PE, construction engineer
Gloria Royer, code compliance and environment
Andy Schwartz, glass
Joseph van Oss, communications
Dave Wagner, trustee and chair of the Finance Council
Jim Wagner, plumbing and HVAC


Updated 4 March 2023