2000

The Millennium, the momentous changing of the century also brought momentous challenges and advances to St. Pius.  In anticipation of these challenges and opportunities, it was determined that a Long Range Plan should be developed which would provide a well studied and carefully constructed plan for growth and development in the parish, addressing all aspects of the parish community.  Beginning in June of 2000, under the leadership of parishioners Steve Valentine and Al Johnson, 27 "speak-up" meetings were held over a period of 5 months. Literally hundreds of people were involved because of the plans impact on every ministry in the parish community from Altar Society to Cooking Team to Athletic Association.

In June, the parish received news that Fr. Larry McBride was to be transferred out of the City.  Fortunately, his replacement, Fr. Richard Meredith proved to be equal to the daunting task being dealt with by Fr. Larry.  This smooth transition of religious leadership is also a reflection on the strong skills and commitment of the lay leadership of the parish.

Parish convocation was held in August 2000 to establish priorities for the next 5 years.  The top priority identified was construction of a "parish hall" facility to house the parish ministries and the parish offices. For years, the many ministries of the growing parish as well as the administrative offices had been "shoe horned" into every available nook and cranny of the existing buildings.  The next step required the blending of all the issues and agendas of the different ministries into a workable "campus master plan".  A Louisville firm tasked with the responsibility of designing the campus master plan, organized yet another series of meeting and over a period of 12 months, the proposed plan was presented to the parish.

A local architect was hired to design the facility and a building site was chosen.  The new parish hall would be located on the east side of the existing structures near Highway 60.  However, with the plan well under way, devastating news was received by St. Pius and the other parishes that a major  revision of Catholic elementary school system was to bring some school closing and consolidation.    Economic and demographic factors lead the Owensboro Catholic School Board to determine that the existing system of parish schools would be converted by a consolidation of all      Kindergarten thru grades three in one location and all Grades 4 to 6 in another.  St. Pius Grade school was to be closed.

This news dealt a devastating blow to the campus master plan.  The loss of revenue, decommissioning of the two-story school building, wings on each side of the church and considerable modification of the mission as outlined in the plan required substantial reconsideration. 

Should the existing former grade school structure be remodeled? Would its configuration accommodate the work of the many ministries?  Would a meeting hall of the dimensions desired be  possible in the existing building?  After much consideration, it was determined that the two-story east wing of the school would be torn down due to its age and deteriorated condition of it's mechanical systems and the new parish hall would be build on this site.  Two pieces of limestone from the original structure were salvaged and one presently is on display, built into the wall as a dedication stone on the Northeast corner of the new parish hall. The school closing also affected the gymnasium.  The athletic programs went with the school program to new locations and the gym was no longer used for parish functions.  The Brantley Construction Co. whose generous support made it possible had constructed the gym.  It's funding was further assisted by aggressive fund raising efforts by students at St. Pius.  After much soul searching and thought, it was determined that the refitting of the building would be too costly. The structure was purchased, disassembled and relocated and is now being used by a welding company.

In 2004, Bishop Cotton Grade School, formerly St. Pius X Grade School, closed after 46 years of providing quality faith based education.

This new challenge did little to deter the determination of the parish community to reach its goal of building the parish hall.  The redesigned project moved forward in its conceptual development and Al Johnson became its unofficial "project manager".

Essential to the success of the project was sufficient funding.  In late fall of 2005 a $1.3 million dollar Building Campaign was launched.  Diocesan rules required 80% of the funds pledged before construction could start.  Parish leadership determined that we must have 100% pledged before breaking ground.  In the spring of 2006, the goal was reached and ground was broken.  Demolition of the old building became a "family affair" with many parishioners assisting in the removal of salvageable items.  St. Pius was fortunate to have so many dedicated and sacrificing members, several of whom stepped into key roles.  For Vince Hayden and his son Steve of Hayden Construction Company, who was the general contractor, and Harry Roberts of Harry Roberts Plumbing and Heating, this project could have been described as a "labor of love".  Both performed far beyond what would be expected.

On December 27, 2006, Our 49th anniversary or as Fr. Richard would say "the beginning of our 50th year" the beautifully designed new Parish Hall was dedicated.