St. John Catholic Church has collected more than 90 percent of the money it needs for a new multipurpose center, church leaders said.
The church has collected about $870,000 of the $1.2 million pledged by the 3,300-family congregation. An additional $500,000 was donated by the late J. Thomas Sinnott, former president of Thomas, Bennett & Hunter Inc. in Westminster.
"J. Thomas Sinnott was an active and faithful parishioner for many years," said Monsignor Joseph C. Antoszewski, pastor of the church."He was the lay corporator of the parish during the early- to mid-70s.
"I suggested to the Parish Council that the center be named after him, and they approved. Once the center is completed, it will be dedicated to his memory, and we will call it the Sinnott Center."
The 20,000-square-foot facility, which will be located between the church and its school, was designed by Camlin/Arbaugh and Associates of Westminster and will be built by Hostetter Construction Corporation of Hanover, Pa. Groundbreaking was held Jan. 19.
Construction cost is estimated at $1.5 million. Extra money raised will be used to furnish the building.
Edwin T. Gregg, chairman of the building committee, said efforts to raise money for the center began in the fall of 1989, after the Archdiocese of Baltimore approved the plans.
The church has applied for building permits, Gregg said.
"If the weathercooperates, we should be under way in a few weeks," Gregg said.
The center will include parish offices, meeting rooms, a computer roomand classrooms for grades kindergarten through third grade.
"The people are anxious for this (building) to get under way," said Antoszewski. "We started planning for this building in 1983. We have done alot of study and conferring with neighboring parishes and the archdiocese. We wanted to establish exactly what it was we needed."
Antoszewski said the facility will provide "tremendous relief" to the school and Parish Center.
"We will be able to add a kindergarten class, which is needed and in great demand," he said. "We have over 1,000kids who attend school elsewhere, but come here for religious education. This new building will enable us to expand our religious education."
About 75 people gathered at the church Jan. 19 to witness thegroundbreaking.
Joined by Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, the parishioners withstood frigid late-afternoon temperatures to hear the brief prayers and words of inspiration from Antoszewski.
The center is expected to be completed by Sept. 1.