This 14,500 square foot addition to the parish campus is beautifully situated on the west side of the Church. The Assisi Center will provide multipurpose space in the main hall, flexible meeting spaces, a full-service kitchen, and a new parish office for the Saint Francis community as it continues to grow.
For information of the construction milestones achieved for 2022, please click here.
For information on the construction milestones ahead for 2023, please click here.
To see pictures of the construction process, please click here. (scroll to the bottom for most recent photos)
The main hall of the Assisi Center was designed to host events for up to approximately 300 people. These events can include events with a guest speaker, a school performance (play or musical), sit-down dinners for various groups, bible study classes, wedding celebrations, etc. There will be a stage area with a sound system and video projection system. For sit-down dinner events, there will be counters and cabinets to support buffet style serving. While the main hall can support an open area for large events, the main hall can be divided into up to four separate rooms based on the needs of the events being held.
First Floor Lobby
On the northeast side of the Assisi Center will be a first floor lobby which will provide an entrance from the outdoors. The Assisi Center first floor lobby entrance is in close proximity to the Church west doors.
The first floor lobby area will also include:
- Pre-function service area that could offer light food and beverages for an event (e.g. coffee and donuts), as well as a pre-meeting gathering area.
- Restrooms and a shower (for use during shelter or during a community crisis)
- Mother’s Changing Room.
- Elevator and Stairs to Second Floor.
- Enclosed ramp access (wheelchair accessible) to a new door on the southwest wall of the Church. Will become an option for people to move between the Church and the Assisi Center without having to go outdoors.
Full Service Kitchen
The Assisi Center will be a full service kitchen in the southwest side of the first floor. The kitchen will have both dry storage and cold storage for food, plates and silverware, along with commercial grade stove and oven equipment. Other equipment such as mixers and dishwashing equipment will be available, providing the facilities necessary to host events in the Assisi Center with sit-down meals.
The Assisi Center will have exterior space on the north side for larger events during the warmer months. Events such as the Church picnic, or ice cream social, could be held outdoors without having to convert parking for event space. The patio and the main hall would be open to one another to increase space for the event. There will also be a small patio outside the southwest door of the Church.
Second Floor Office
The Assisi Center will have a second floor providing office space for the parish staff. There will be an entrance to the second floor office area from the southeast side of the Assisi Center, leading to a reception area. Staff offices, along with meeting rooms, storage space, restrooms and a staff lounge will be provided in the second floor office area. There will be a stairs and elevator access to the First Floor Lobby area.
Other Assisi Center Features
In addition to the features mentioned above, there are some additional items worth noting. These include:
- Charging stations for electric vehicles will be available on the north side of the building.
- Disabled access to the building will available from the west lot, from Frieze Avenue, and directly through the west wall of the Church.
- Sufficient storage is located on both levels to help relieve challenges historically experienced.
- Additional access to East Stadium Boulevard from the northwest parking lot (approval pending).
- The Assisi Center will provide much needed meeting space for parish group events
- Current office space will be converted to St. Francis of Assisi School use.
WHY WAS THE ASSISI CENTER BUILT?
Since our Parish Activity Center (PAC) opened in 1980, we quickly outgrew the space within the first decade. During the 1990s, to help our growing school, the parish invested in the school by adding the library, science lab and additional classrooms. At the same time, we added the beautiful pipe organ in the Church completing the original vision for the Church in 1967. As we moved into the new millennium, our parish embarked on expanding the Church by creating the family gathering space and baptismal font. Upon completion in 2002, our previous pastor Fr. Jim McDougall knew that we finally needed to do something about the lack of space in the PAC. By this time, the storage cabinets added around the walls solved a storage problem but this was at the expense of floor space. The financial crisis of 2008 caused our focus to shift and any ideas of building a new hall were shelved until our parish and country were well healed.
Fast forward to 2015 and 2016, our current pastor, Fr. James Conlon, blew the dust off the expansion ideas. The Assisi Center project was financed completely by our parishioners as a result of the Witness to Hope (WTH) combined capital campaign with the Diocese of Lansing. Saint Francis had the largest WTH pledge amount, and our very generous community of faith came within 90% of achieving it! Our gratitude is with all of the donors that supported the original campaign.
For all that weren’t able to participate in WTH or would like to make an additional contribution to the project, it is not too late to participate. Donations to the Saint Francis Building Fund will help us close a $1 million gap in the original campaign and leave funds for future improvements that were not part of the construction plan.
HOW CAN WE SUPPORT THE PROJECT?
Visit the ParishSoft Giving portal for St. Francis of Assisi Parish here. Under fund choose “Assisi Center Donations.” One-time or recurring options are available by credit card, debit card, or ACH.
Contribute by Check
Checks should be made payable to “St. Francis of Assisi Parish,” with “Building Fund” written in the memo. You can drop your check in the Sunday Mass collection or mail it to:
St. Francis of Assisi Parish
2150 Frieze Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Contribute with a Stock Gift or an IRA Distribution
Contact Rob Kehn at 734-821-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your generous support of the Assisi Center !