By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published April 9, 2009
On Monday, March 30, the parishioners of Transfiguration Church happily celebrated the dedication of a new Family Life Center as they followed the Sprayberry High School marching band into the new facility after a ceremony in the church.
The Family Life Center was over a year in the making.
The facility, designed by Hiscutt & Associates, holds classrooms, offices, gathering space and a gymnasium. The building also includes a caterer’s kitchen for events held in the large assembly space.
“Everybody knew that we needed it,” said Joyce Guris, director of religious education and youth ministries for the Marietta parish.
“We are a very large parish and a very active parish with over 70 ministries,” she said.
The youth group has begun meeting in the Family Life Center, and high school juniors and seniors are excited to use the classroom space as well, said Guris, since they have been meeting temporarily in rooms normally used as a parish nursery.
The state-of-the-art gymnasium, which features scoreboards donated by Coca-Cola, includes a walking track and courts for basketball, volleyball and shuffleboard.
“There is something for everyone,” commented Msgr. Patrick Bishop, pastor.
Msgr. Bishop said that he wanted to build a new Family Life Center ever since they had to tear the old one down several years ago. He was happy to see this large project come to completion. It cost approximately $3.5 million to build.
“It is going to be great for religious education and for the youth,” he said.
“It will be a great way to build community,” added Guris.
There are plans to host organized leagues in several sports, but also to incorporate free time, where parishioners can hold pickup basketball or volleyball games.
Guris said it will be a place many non-Catholics will visit because of the variety of community activities.
Pam Bannister, project manager and a senior associate at the architectural firm, said they began drawing the plans early last year for the 19,600-square-foot facility.
“This was definitely a collaborative effort,” commented Bannister. “Msgr. Bishop knows what he wants. … We all worked really well together.”
The Family Life Center was designed to match the other buildings on the parish campus, using the same exterior materials.
“There is a unity here. It flows,” said Msgr. Bishop about Transfiguration’s campus.
Msgr. Bishop said working with Hiscutt & Associates of Alpharetta, as well as the contractor, Collins and Arnold of Atlanta, was a great experience. The vice president of the contracting company, Jack Shriver, is a Transfiguration parishioner.
The building committee’s decision was unanimous in selecting both of the companies, Msgr. Bishop said, and all the groups worked together well.
At the dedication, members of the parish first met in the church’s sanctuary where Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Msgr. Bishop and others spoke about the importance of the new building and this moment in the life of the parish. The archbishop was presented with a key to the facility.
They were then treated to the sounds of the Sprayberry High School band, called the Sprayberry Band of Gold, which includes several youth of the parish. The crowd followed the band from the church to the new facility, adding to the sense of celebration. Msgr. Bishop had encouraged everyone to come wearing sneakers because of the gym floor. Once inside, Archbishop Gregory blessed every corner of the new facility.
“It was euphoric,” Guris said of the dedication celebration. “Everyone who walked in was smiling. … (The band) really added excitement to the night.”
Bannister, who attended the dedication with Peter Hiscutt, the president of the firm, said the event was a “really wonderful celebration.”
“They recognized everyone who had a part … which was very nice of them,” she said. “It was reverent, but fun.”
“When we asked the band to come, I was expecting 10 or 20,” said Msgr. Bishop. But nearly 50 students came to celebrate and perform, many not members of the parish.
“Nothing has ever gone so smoothly,” added Msgr. Bishop about the planning, building and dedication of the new facility.