NAPLES â€“Â Work has begun to replace the parish building of St. William Parish.
A groundbreaking for the new building was held April 11. Bishop Frank J. Dewane said a prayer and blessed the area where the new building will go up. For the ceremony, Bishop Dewane was joined by Father George Ratzmann, Pastor of St. William, plus members theparishBuildingand Design committees, as well as the contractors who will be doing the construction work.
The previous parish building is nearly completely torn down, with work beginning just after Easter. Once the site is cleared, work will begin in earnest on the new building which will be 40 percent larger than the previous building. To help with continuity, the exterior look of the building will look similar; in addition, some features of the previous building, such as the stained glass and iconic bell tower will also be present in the new building.
Ed Duff, who is a member of the Design Committee, said that it took many years to determine what would be best for the parish and its future, but the consensus that was reached ensures an exciting future for the parish community.
The new Parish building will be 43,479 square feet and be able to seat 1,350 people. Morton, Wasmer and Abraham, Inc. of Naples is the general contractor for this project. Kosinski Architecture, Inc., out of Fort Lauderdale, is the architect.
Other improvements within the plans for the new building will be a new crucifix, which will be suspended over the sanctuary, a new sacristy, enhanced lighting, sound system, efficient climate control systems, new tile flooring, larger and more accessible restrooms, a meeting room for religious education, a new ushersâ€™ room, a religious article store, new pews and kneelers, more entrances and exits.
The adjoining hall will not be demolished, but refurbished and enhanced with some additions being made to the choir room, kitchen and storage areas, as well as a rearrangement of the offices within its space. The balcony will remain, to keep the seating capacity high.
â€śThis new Parish building is a blessing for the Naples Catholic community, but is also a testament to the dedication of the faithful at St. William Parish. It is truly a joy to have the building of this new house of worship officially begin,â€ť Bishop Dewane said.
Father Ratzmann said he is excited about the new building, â€śWe will be able to bring in both residents and visitors through the doors of the parish and create a worship space that can thrive and flourish, for the benefit of all people.â€ť