Westbrook Catholic Community
The three Westbrook Catholic Churches recently took inventory of their spaces and resources. Two of the parishes, St. Mary’s and St. Edmund’s, were designed in the 1970s, and St. Hyacinth’s was constructed in 1941. Barba + Wheelock worked through a series of interviews with the priest and parishioners to program, design and help determine the optimal location to house all three parishes, newly formed as one, under ‘one roof,’ on one site.
The design involved examining three sites with a combined total of 19.57 acres and 10 buildings of different eras, in three zoning districts. Two locations are in urban locations and the third is in a rural area. Barba + Wheelock developed an extensive understanding of the needs of the combined parish, both current and future, to serve as a base for conceptual design for each site. Barba + Wheelock conducted a study of demographic trends, cost per square foot, as well as research into trends and requirements of Catholic liturgy and architecture. We prepared comparative cost estimates for the three properties and, working with a commercial broker, were able to analyze the economic consequences of divesting property on each situation.
In fall 2005, at a meeting of 400 people, B + W presented the results to an overwhelming consensus, applause and kudos, as the communities rallied around the resulting property. B + W continues to work with the newly combined parish to design and construct the renovations to St. Hyacinth’s Church, slated to start construction in early 2007 at a cost of about $4 million.
“After this past week and our meeting with St. Anthony Parish I am only reaffirmed that we made the wisest choice. I was blown away with your total professionalism with the preparation, presentation and your handling of the Questions and Answers from the general populous of greater Westbrook’s Catholics.” – Rene Daniels, Building Committee
Special Features: Successful outcome to a potentially charged, emotionally difficult decision to combine three parishes into one building.