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St. Mary’s Master Plan

St. Mary’s Catholic Church – Lovingston, Virginia


This project was to propose a master plan for a small parish in rural Virginia.  The parish had a need to expand with a growing population and the site located on a hill was presents a number of challenges.  The plan developed was to add phases of expansion to allow for funds to be raised over time.  This parish undertook our standard Master Planning process, which is outlined below:


Master Planning

This planning process is undertaken in order to create a realistic and useful master plan for the parish.  Investing time early in this master planning process is highly useful to the success of a parish looking to develop it’s properties. This process gives the parish an opportunity to lay out the possibilities for future expansion, weigh them and choose the best path before even turning a single shovelful of dirt. Furthermore, by providing a clear road map for future developments, the parish avoids making plans based on immediate needs that may be in conflict with ultimate goals, thus preventing unnecessary expense.

Throughout the process collaboration is essential between the architect, parish leadership and the parish community as a whole.  The collaborative nature of the master plan process, while providing a clear plan, also makes the parish community an essential part of the process and planning.  This investment of the parish itself in the plan is key to inspiring the parish to back the plan with their gifts, time and prayers.

The process undergoes a number of phases for completion:

  1. Survey – A thorough examination of the parish facilities, making note of sizes and capacities of various spaces and buildings.
  2. Initial Plan – The conceptual plan for the parish facilities shows what the final ultimate development of the properties would look like.
  3. Detailed Design – Based on comments and input from the parish and pastor, a more detailed plan will be developed that outlines specific buildings and spaces.
  4. Final Design – This design phase develops the designs for the new church expansion and buildings in a more attractive and inspiring format for final presentation to the parish.
  5. Master Plan Document – The final phase of the master plan process is to put the outcomes of the collaborative process of design,  into an attractive and coherent format for publication.  This final “Master Plan Document” is then used to guide future decisions about architectural and development projects on the parish.
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