More than a year after a fire severely damaged St. Ann Church in Grantsville, the tiny faith community in Garrett County is moving ahead with plans for a new church. The damaged church, built in 1977, was recently razed to make way for a new building that parish leaders say will be bigger and better than the destroyed one.
“We’ve been talking about expanding for a long time, and we have need for additional fellowship space,” said Steve Adams, pastoral council president and a member of the building committee. “We felt reconstructing wasn’t in our best interest, so we decided to build a new church.”
The new house of worship will be a wood-and-brick structure reoriented from the original to face a ridge of mountains. It will include large windows that will bathe the interior with natural light. The destroyed church had almost no windows, Mr. Adams said.
“We really wanted to take advantage of the beautiful scenery,” he said.
The new church will seat 200 people – 50 more than the former church. It will include a larger narthex and a basement hall for social functions and meetings. There are tentative plans for a small outdoor courtyard area.
The design of the sanctuary and other interior features is still in the preliminary stages, Mr. Adams said.
Hugh Andes, an archdiocesan project manager, said the parish is trying to keep its building budget within $1.6 million. Insurance money will be used to help pay for the project and the 100-family faith community is also holding fundraisers. A “cash bash” will be held July 19 at the Avilton Community Center in Avilton, Mr. Adams said.
DCMM Architects of Gaithersburg completed the preliminary design and Eads Architects of Cumberland is now working on the project. The builder is Daystar Builders Inc. of Grantsville, said Mr. Andes, noting that the structure will be approximately 16,137 square feet.
Since the Dec. 23, 2006 fire, parishioners have been worshipping at the Newman Funeral Home in Grantsville.
Bishop W. Francis Malooly, western vicar, said he was “very enthused” about the progress on the new church.
“The design was done in such a fashion to take full advantage of the gorgeous view in different directions,” he said.