With over 100 students attending religious classes every week, the St. James Catholic Church in Randall has plans to expand. Top on its list is to add nine classrooms as currently classes are held in the church’s three entryways, kitchen, hall and in four rooms of the parish house. Because of the lack of space, the class for ninth and 10th graders alternates the space weekly with the class for those in 11th grade.
Alan Poser, who serves on both the Building Committee and the Maintenance Committee said that one of the classes in one of the entryways is held right outside the restrooms, which becomes a distraction for students as people come and go. Similarly, another entryway faces the same kind of heavy foot traffic. Also having to continuously set up and take down tables and chairs in that quantity is a physical hassle that takes away a lot of time that could be spent elsewhere.
The church has grown significantly since it was founded in 1896 by 14 families who simply wanted to have a church of their own. Today, the St. James Catholic Church has 266 families and around 600 members.
Poser said the church plans to expand the fellowship hall to a capacity of 190 people, as well.
“Right now, it’s too small for many funerals, so they end up having to go elsewhere,” he said.
The church also plan to enlarge its kitchen for safety, as well as health reasons. Poser said they plan to place an automatic sanitizing dishwasher in a separate part of the kitchen, in order to keep dirty dishes away from the food preparation area and to install stainless steel equipment and countertops since they are easier to sanitize, as well as install a commercial exhaust hood with a fire suppression system and a make-up air unit. In addition, new equipment, such as a double commercial refrigerator, a single upright freezer, a six-burner 24-inch griddle gas range with double ovens (one will be a convection oven), microwave, food warmer and a commercial coffeemaker will be added. More importantly, the enlarged kitchen space enables kitchen workers to carry hot items without bumping into each other.
A bigger hall is also needed, said Poser. The new hall is estimated to be at a capacity of 190, including an overflow of 40-90 in the classrooms.
One very much desired addition that many who work and volunteer at the church hope for is more storage space for decorations for Christmas and Augustfest, sanctuary banners, kitchen items and a coat rack, among other items.
The church also wants to install handicapped accessible restrooms and possibly also an indoor handicap ramp.
The type of construction the church plan on building is a sloped ceiling with a trussed rafter system with sheetrock and paint on wood studs and brick siding on an 60-feet by 92-feet addition.
The preliminary cost for the expansion project is $800,000. Poser said that counting both cash and pledges, over $400,000 has been raised toward the project.
“That’s not bad (considering) we just started the capital campaign in March,” he said.
Poser said that one person has pledged to donate $100,000, provided the project is started this year.
Those donating $500 or more will also get a plaque with their name on it (unless they wish to be anonymous) that will be hung alongside a wall.
“We’re thinking the plaques will be hung on the wall by the food line, so people can read the them while they are waiting in line,” said Poser.
Those who would like to donate by credit card or electronic funds transfer (EFT) may call Dean Welle at Randall State Bank at (320) 749-2125. Checks can also be mailed to the St. James Catholic Church at 405 E. Minnesota Ave., Randall, MN 56475.