After a prayer ceremony, Good Shepherd Catholic Church broke ground Sunday on an addition to the building.
Father Charlie Amershek said Alexander Building Co. will construct an addition to the church that will be used for gathering, meeting rooms and classroom space. He said the current parish hall will be renovated as a youth ministry room, where young church members will have a say in its design.
The first floor of the additional structure will include gathering space, a church hall that will seat about 280 people, a kitchen and three meeting rooms. The second floor, Amershek said, will have six classrooms.
It will cost the church about $7.2 million to build and is expected to be completed Easter of next year.
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“It was my predecessor Father Philip Bender’s dream to expand and I promised him that when I became pastor, I’d see that it got done,”Amershek said.
Bender passed away in 2011, but Amershek said he would have been proud of this project, which is is named after him: The Father Bender Community Center.
Currently, Amershek said there are about 1,000 families part of the church congregation.
“In State College, people move in and people move out, but we’ve been blessed to have a steady enrollment,” Amershek said.