St. Clare of Assisi Catholic ParishMonroe, WI
In 2017, PRA provided design services to develop a master plan for the St. Clare of Assisi campus. Components of the master plan included a new 13,400 sq. ft. narthex/fellowship hall addition to the church and a 16,000 sq. ft. parish center, school office, and classroom addition to the school. Elevators were also a planned addition to the church and school to improve accessibility along with a 73-stall parking lot with handicapped accessible spaces to serve the new narthex.
The goal for the narthex addition was to create a better situated and more accessible fellowship space for all parishioners. Their existing fellowship hall, located on the lower level, had two access points: a stairway located in the nave or a ramped exterior entrance located on an inconvenient side of the building. To remedy inaccessibility, an elevator was installed to connect the first floor and lower level, making all spaces accessible from the interior.
An additional 11,000 sq. ft. were added to the 1892 church with the demolition of the parish office to create a fellowship hall, kitchenette, parish offices, restrooms, and storage on the first floor. For future renovations, the lower level was designed to have two large meeting rooms, bathrooms, and an updated commercial kitchen
On the exterior, the team designed a porte-cochere to make arrivals and departures easier. There is also a newly paved parking lot with several accessible spaces for parishioners to use. Adjacent to the fellowship hall is a small outdoor courtyard to enjoy.
The existing church has a multitude of beautifully crafted stained glass windows, so it was necessary to salvage the glass that was in our scope of work. With the help of talented artisans, we were able to modify and reuse the glass in the building. Another challenge of this project was finding brick to match a 128-year-old church. Our local trade partners were able to create a blend that is unobtrusive next to the existing building.