BRUNSWICK, Maine — Seven years after All Saints Parish was created by consolidating seven Catholic churches in the midcoast region, the parish has plans a new, $4.75 million arts center and new elementary school on the campus of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and school, which leaders hope will enhance and further grow its membership.
Plans for the nearly 15,000-square-foot events center, which will be discussed by the Brunswick Planning Board during a workshop on Tuesday, include a gymnasium/auditorium, fully-equipped cafeteria, stage for school presentations, music room, locker rooms, meeting room and an adoration chapel.
According to an application submitted to the town, a 13,200-square-foot school would be built in a subsequent phase of the project on 4.68 acres owned by the Roman Catholic diocese of Portland.
Steering Committee Chairman Jim Baskerville said planners “will do our best to match” the architecture of the church.
The center would accomplish a number of goals, including finally providing a proper gymnasium for the 132-year-old St. John’s parochial school. For years, school exercise and other activities took place in the Brunswick Recreation Center on Federal Street or in a space beneath the Catholic church sanctuary, Baskerville said. But in 2014, the recreation center was demolished and relocated to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, and restrictions have since been placed on the lower level of the church because of fire and safety issues.
Nearly $1 million in funding from a previous campaign has been earmarked for this project, and church leaders will need to raise another $3.8 million.
Baskerville said the parish would apply for grants and to foundations, and he hopes parents will support the drive. But he pointed in particular to “an uncommonly strong alumni of St. John’s Catholic School,” which he suspects will contribute generously.
In addition to St. John the Baptist Church and St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brunswick, All Saints Parish includes St. Mary’s Church in Bath, St. Katherine Drexel Summer Chapel in Harpswell, Our Lady Queen of Peace in Boothbay Harbor, St. Ambrose Church in Richmond and St. Patrick Church, Newcastle.
Leaders hope the arts center would draw new students to the school, as well as new parishioners.
Baskerville said the parish hopes the new center and school will appeal to the many new families and students coming in to Brunswick.
“Those parents and families and students will be looking for both churches and faith, as well as elementary education, and we would like to be top on their list in considering faith, church and school.”