March 2, 2016 11:42 AM
Design by Corne-Lemaire Group. Rendering by Michael Wayne Broussard

St. Pius X Catholic Church this week began construction on its new church at 600 Kaliste Saloom Road, the former location of Acadiana Bottling Company.

Including the purchase and demolition of property, additional office space and parking, the total project is estimated to cost $19 million. Of that price tag, $14.3 million is for construction costs, $1.2 million for liturgical appointments and $300,000 for an organ.

St. Pius officials tell ABiz the church project represents the final phase of its campaign to “Build the Faith in Acadiana: Body and Soul, Bricks and Mortar.”

It has been about 17 years since a new Catholic Church was constructed in Lafayette ­— St. Elizabeth Seton at 610 Rain Tree Trail was completed in 1999.

The St. Pius project is a result of a strategic planning process that began in 2008; parishioners, who were actively involved in the process, identified the building of a new church as a top priority.

“This is a big project, and the details are extensive, but through this process St. Pius has envisioned a church that will be here for generations to come and which will be another symbol of the Catholic faith in Acadiana,” the Rev. Steven C. LeBlanc, the church’s pastor, says in a prepared statement.

St. Pius X began as a Mission of Our Lady of Fatima with its first Mass held in a Verot School Road warehouse equipped with a portable hand-built altar and removable chairs. Its first 30-foot-by-60-foot cement block church was constructed in 1960 on East Bayou Parkway and now houses classrooms of St. Pius Elementary School, which was added in 2000; the current church at 201 E. Bayou Parkway was built in 1975. Over the last 15 years, the church parish has experienced tremendous population growth and is expected to expand even more in the coming years.

“When we began this huge undertaking, I wondered how we would manage it all. We worked with parish leadership, received parish feedback, formed the building committee, worked with the architect and developed a church design in which we all could be proud,” LeBlanc continues. “Our next obstacle was where we would build the new church. Then suddenly the 3.3-acre lot where the Acadiana Bottling Company was located became available, and we had the funds in savings to buy it.”

Scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2017, the church is a 31,141-square-foot structure with 1,925 square feet of covered areas on its exterior to accommodate funerals and for drop-offs and pick-ups in inclement weather.

The church’s French and Spanish architecture will represent the ancestry of the Acadiana region.

The new church will have seating for 900, compared with the current capacity of 520. Additional features include a large gathering area to provide a more welcoming environment when entering the building that can also be used for ministry communications, displays and other reading material; a practice area for the choir, which will double as a bride’s room for weddings; a room for child care; a room to be shared between the children’s church and the RCIA group; restroom facilities for men and women; and an adoration chapel offering 24-hour access and restroom facilities.

Corne-Lemaire Group, the architectural firm hired for the project, is working with liturgical design consultant Michael Carrigan of Sacred Spaces. JB Mouton, an ABiz Top 50 company, is the general contractor.

St. Pius X will celebrate the groundbreaking at the new site on Palm Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m. Following the ceremony, guests are welcome to attend a reception hosted by the Women’s Guild. For more information regarding attending the ceremony, contact Schuyler Kleinpeter at skleinpeter@stpiusxchurch.org or (337) 232-1818.

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