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St. Henry's breaks ground on expansion project

Sam Benshoof/FOCUS Representatives from St. Henry's Catholic Church, Petow Construction and BHH Partners Architects broke ground Monday morning on the first phase of the church's expansion and remodeling project.

On Monday morning, St. Henry's Catholic Church in Perham broke ground on its new expansion project.

St. Henry's Parish Council Chairperson Randy Altstadt said the new expansion and remodeling plan is split into three separate phases. The church aims to have all three phases - which Altstadt estimated to cost $3.5-4 million - completed in 10-15 years.

"It's a plan we have for the future," Altstadt said. "We have to see how phase one goes, then we'll go from there."

The first part of the project - which Altstadt described as Phase 1A - includes covering the stairs at the north entrance of the church, as well as building a drive-through entrance underneath the roof.

"That way, people won't have to deal with the rain or weather," Altstadt said.

The south entrance of the church will be addressed in a separate phase of the project.

The rest of phase one includes building a narthex on to the front of the church, which Altstadt said would be a "good gathering area for people after funerals. It'll be a good gathering space."

In addition, an office complex will be built to the north of the new narthex, which will house offices for church staff and for Father Joe Herzing.

"Right now we're using the Parish house as an office complex," Altstadt said. "Once we get the office buildings up, then we would turn the current office structure into a living place for Father Joe."

Altstadt said the church is hoping to complete Phase 1A by Dec. 1 of this year. The rest of phase one - the narthex and the offices - would then be started next spring.

The second and third phases of the expansion include building a new hall, priest residences, an adoration chapel and the covering of the south entrances.

Altstadt said the church is looking at local contractors for the project.

"Everything is going to try to be done as local as possible," he said. "We have the bid opening and everything's ready to roll."

According to Altstadt, the church is currently in the middle of a capital campaign to raise money for the project. He described the response to the campaign as "positive."

"We've been planning the project for about three years," Altstadt said. "So it's about time we get started with it."