St. Isidore’s Catholic Church has been a home away from home for some students over the years, but with growing numbers, the current building can no longer support the capacity of people wanting to attend masses, bible studies and other events the church holds.
On April 5, St. Isidore’s will close the chapel doors to begin the final phase of construction that will last until 2022. This renovation will update many of the church’s systems as well as double its size.
Father Gale Hammerschmidt, chaplain of St. Isidore’s Catholic Church, said along with necessary renovations to the plumbing, heating and air systems, the student center was renovated, too, to make it more accessible.
“We are also excited to be tearing down and rebuilding the main chapel itself,” Hammerschmidt said. “We are going to be able to create a space twice the size because we have outgrown our current chapel.”
Father Drew Hoffman, associate chaplain of St. Isidore’s Catholic Church, said he, too, is looking forward to the necessary renovation.
“I am excited to have enough space for community members can raise eyes, minds and hearts to God. … At the current moment, we are almost bursting at the seams, so it will be nice to have a little extra room,” Hoffman said.
The goal of the renovation is to grow, not only by the size of the church, but by the size of the community and the environment St. Isidore’s is able to create.
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“We made sure that we did this renovation in phases to make sure that there would always be a place to go, with this being a home away from home for many people, we wanted to make sure that they always had a place to go, and worship,” Hammerschmidt said. “Many students use the student center as a place to study, and the Newman Center as a place to relieve some of the stress of their day, so the last thing we wanted to do was take that away.”
Seeing the church going through so many changes has its bittersweet moments, Leah Brock, junior in mass communications, said.
“St. Isidore’s has become a place that I have found a community that has helped make me who I am today,” Brock said. “It has taught me so many life lessons, as well as helping me to find who I am as a person and a student.”
St. Isidore’s has played a big role in some K-State students’ lives, whether it be in marriages, baptisms or other life events.
“We have seen 1,291 weddings in this chapel, the last one being held just a week ago,” Hoffman said. “Many of those couples have been returning to take pictures, and really just cherish what has gotten to happen within the walls of the church.”
From the planning phases to the construction phase, the St. Isidore’s community raised more than $12 million — $2 million over their original target.
“We still want everyone to feel welcome to come study and worship, even if the environment might look a little different,” Hoffman said. “We hope that students and community members will continue to take advantage of the space that we still have open.”
With the main chapel doors closed for the remainder of the year, regularly scheduled masses will be held in the K-State Alumni Center across the street.