Zionsville Times Sentinel

January 23, 2013

Bigger space, more fish to fry at St. Al’s

Renovation gives congregation more room to spread out.

By Matt Werner
Staff Writer

— A renovated parish hall brings more opportunities and much-needed space to St. Alphonsus Ligouri Catholic Church.

The Rev. Father Dennis O’Keeffe, pastor at St. Alphonsus, said renovating the original church building was a priority ever since the new church building was built in 2004.

“The congregation has more than 1,000 households,” he said. “We were looking for space where people can gather for a social function. It was evident that we had grown out of Weitzel Hall as a community space.”

Construction began on Our Lady of Perpetual Hope Hall in spring and finished in fall with a catered formal dinner in November.

“It was large enough so that everyone was very comfortable,” O’Keeffe said. “We had 200 people there and could probably seat 230, which is much bigger than Weitzel Hall.”

Some of the new features of the hall are a new audio/visual system, a new dance floor and a much larger kitchen. The old kitchen was 800 square feet, but the new kitchen is 1,100 square feet with more equipment and a larger pantry.

“The original kitchen was built in 1972 and remained largely the same until this project,” O’Keeffe said. “We are very anxious to try it out for the fish fry dinners.”

Diane Peasel, director of communication, said the new audio/visual system will bring new opportunities to the parish.

“It increases our ability for presenters,” she said. “We didn’t have any equipment in Weitzel Hall to do that and had to bring in portable equipment. Now, it’s all built in.”

Peasel said there is a new speaker system, projector screens and LCD televisions to aid in presentations.

Peasel said during spring, there are plans for elevating the landscaping surrounding the hall, which will complete the entire campus project.

O’Keeffe said the hall will be used for high school and middle school religious education, Knights of Columbus meetings, funeral dinners, formal dinners and wedding receptions.

“Witnessing community and facility growth is truly a blessing,” O’Keeffe said. “It will be exciting to see how these changes will serve families and the local community as we move forward in humble thanksgiving and praise from where we have come over the years.”