Big renovation projects are changing the look of two parishes at opposite ends of the state.
Holy Cross Church in Pickens is beginning work that will change its entire look and create what members hope will be a more welcoming and sacred atmosphere.
Holy Trinity Church in Orangeburg, meanwhile, is completing renovations to the parish hall, which has served as everything from a school cafeteria to worship space since the late ’60s.
The work at Holy Cross started on Oct. 16 with a blessing of the renovation site, but the project is the result of years of planning.
Judy Munson led the renovation committee. She moved to Pickens County in 2004, and instantly found a home at Holy Cross.
“Everybody knows who everybody is, and what’s going on with people,” Munson said. “If someone new comes in, people will come up and ask them how they’re doing. It’s a really good place.”
Serious discussion about renovations started in 2008. The committee surveyed parishioners to find out what they considered the greatest needs in the parish, which was founded in 1965 and currently has about 204 households. They held weekly meetings to determine how to move ahead, and started a capital campaign in 2012.
The biggest part of the project is expanding the church’s narthex so people will have space to gather before and after Mass.
Changes will also make the church accessible to more people by adding an elevator and handicapped-accessible restrooms on the main and lower levels. A covered drop-off area will benefit all during bad weather.
Other improvements include more space around the altar and moving the confessionals to a more private area. The choir section will move, and the cry room, sacristy and altar servers’ dressing room will relocate to the rear of the church. The structure will also have a new roof and carpeting.
During the renovation, Mass will be celebrated in the chapel at Dillard Funeral Home.
Munson said the work will take between five to nine months, depending on weather and other circumstances. The estimated cost of the project is $488,000, funded largely through the capital campaign.
“It’s an exciting time for the parish because nothing like this is going to happen again for a long time,” Munson said. “We’re building for the future. The capital campaign is called ‘Build for the Lord,’ and that’s fitting because we’re building God’s house.”
The architect for the project is Carter Jumper Sease of West Columbia, and the contractor is Durham Greene, based in Easley.
Angie Villano, who joined Holy Cross in 1982, has a deep connection to the parish. It’s where she was married and the parish center, Villano Hall, is named after her father-in-
“It’s very hard to put in words how special this project is,” she said. “To see that we have people that want to make our current church even better and more reverent is breathtaking.”
Father Emmanuel Efiong, administrator at Holy Cross, said the renovations will physically and spiritually renew the church.
In Orangeburg, work is nearly complete on urgent renovations to the parish hall, said Father James N. Dubrouillet, the pastor.
“The new building is very different than what we had, a much cleaner looking building that’s also going to save us a lot of money,” he said.
The building previously served as the cafeteria and meeting hall for the parish’s school. After the school closed, it was used as worship space until a new church was completed in the late ’90s. Then, it did triple duty as a parish hall, office and classroom.
Plans were in the works to renovate the hall, but jumped to the fast track in June when the roof nearly failed. Workers had previously
discovered breaks in the trusses holding up the roof, and then early this summer found they were near complete failure.
“We had to get out of the building, and knew we had to redo the hall, so we said let’s do it right,” Father Dubrouillet said.
The renovations included a complete new roof, removing asbestos from the ceilings and floors, installing new ceilings, an electrical system, energy efficient windows, and individual heating and air conditioning controls for each room. The kitchen in the hall was also redesigned.
Father Dubrouillet said the project cost about $460,000, funded through parish savings, donations and money from the Bishop’s Annual Appeal emergency fund.
Townsend and Associates of Orangeburg were the architects, and Amco Construction of Orangeburg was the contractor.
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