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St. Henry's Church breaks ground on new addition

Submitted photo A drawing by BHH Partners of what the church will look like once the additions to the front are complete.1 / 3
Marie Nitke/FOCUS Representatives from St. Henry's Church, Hammers Construction and BHH Partners pose for a photo outside the church at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.2 / 3
Drawing provided by BHH Partners3 / 3

St. Henry's Catholic Church in Perham broke ground on a 4,000-square-foot addition last week.

The new space will make the church more accessible and will accommodate church offices, bathrooms, a large narthex, a conference room and a storage room.

It will change the look of the church's front entrance dramatically, but the transition from old parts to new should appear seamless - the new areas are designed to stay true to the look of the existing structure.

The addition is the second of a multi-part improvement project that began at the church about a year ago. Contingent on financing, more projects could be in the church's future in the next few years.

This current project is expected to take about eight months from start to finish. Plans for it have been underway for at least the last three years.

"This is a happy day," said Matthew Malone, project manager with BHH Partners in Perham, at the groundbreaking. BHH is the architectural firm handling the addition.

Shane Hendrickson, of Hammers Construction, said the build process would start this week. As soon as masons have finished salvaging the granite from the front steps, he said, a crew from Hammers will start digging and site clearing.

The front entrance to the church will be roped off; parishioners will have to use other entrances.

Long-time parishioners at the groundbreaking said this addition is greatly needed and will be an asset to the church.

Currently, some church offices are run out of the Parish house; this project will bring them all under one roof, together into the same area so no one need run from building to building anymore.

It will also provide a main-level bathroom, which the church has never had, as well as an easily accessible ground-level main entry.

The narthex is also eagerly anticipated, as it will offer parishioners a comfortable gathering place. Especially since the St. Henry's and St. Stanislaus parishes combined three years ago, parishioners said, the church has been in need of additional space.