Basilica looks to future with comprehensive study of buildings, grounds

| August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Basilica of St. Mary and The Basilica Landmark organization said Aug. 9 that a design firm will lead a study of the Basilica’s buildings and grounds in downtown Minneapolis, looking to meet the needs of the people it serves now and into the future.

“The master plan will prepare us for the next 100 years of service to the Basilica and to the city,” said Father John Bauer, rector and pastor.

HGA of Minneapolis will lead a team that also includes historic preservation specialists at Beyer Blinder Belle of New York City and experts in urban strategy at Duval Companies and landscape architecture at TEN X TEN, both in Minneapolis.

A committee of parishioners began working on a vision for the campus early last year. Selecting a team to help put ideas into action was an important next step, Father Bauer said. The Basilica Landmark, a nonprofit organization that brings awareness and raises funds for the Basilica, is funding the study.

An update on the design teams’ progress could come late this year or early next, said Mae Desaire, the Basilica’s director of marketing and communications. The study will help point to future fundraising needs at the Basilica, Desaire said.

Buildings on campus include the Basilica, the rectory, a former convent now used for office space, and a school that is used for faith formation and leased to a Montessori school, Desaire said.

Johan van Parys, director of liturgy and the sacred arts at the Basilica, said the Basilica is no longer structurally in crisis thanks to ongoing restoration and repair work, which includes annual exterior tuck-pointing. Therefore, it’s an opportune time to look carefully at long-term needs.

Areas that will need updating include accessibility to worship areas of the Basilica, such as people moving from the main body of the church to the sanctuary, he said.

“People who use a walker or a cane shouldn’t be forced to do it any differently than those who don’t,” he said.

Renovating inside the Basilica while ensuring that any changes look as though they have always been there is part of the difficult design process, van Parys said.

“We trust that HGA will come up with a solution while still respecting the space,” he said.

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Category: Local News