The Future of St. Paul’s Catholic Church

By Matthew Straub, Marketing Coordinator at Straub Construction

Straub Construction is excited to have begun our project for the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Olathe. The church is moving from its current location, to a new building being built off west 115th Terrace, just west of South Lone Elm Road. Having outgrown their current location and anticipating further growth, the parish is looking toward the future.

The Building

The new building will be approximately 48,000 square feet and will feature 25 classrooms, administrative offices, and a multi-purpose room which will serve as the church, gym, and cafeteria. The Pre-K through 8th grade school will be able to accommodate about 450 students and staff members.

The Team

The anticipated completion date of this project is early 2019. For this project, Straub Construction has partnered with Aaron Ledesma of HTK Architects, Bob D. Campbell is the structural engineer, and Smith & Boucher is the MEP engineer. The project manager for St. Paul’s is Nolan Cisper and the superintendent is Kip Gibler.

Straub Construction: St. Paul Catholic Church

The project is moving along very smoothly, the concrete slab was poured recently, and masonry block materials have arrived and are being installed. A special shout out to Bedrock Concrete, who are featured in these images, for their hard work and high-quality performance.

As our construction efforts march on, we are starting to see St. Paul’s Catholic Church’s vision for the future take physical form. As each stage of the construction process is completed, we’re moving closer and closer to welcoming the students, faculty, and parishioners to their future home. In early 2019, the St. Paul’s Catholic Church doors will open, and their dream for the future will be realized. We at Straub Construction are thrilled to be able to play a part in making that dream a reality!

Straub Construction: St. Paul's Catholic Church Straub Construction: St. Paul's Catholic Church

Straub Construction: St. Paul's Catholic Church Straub Construction: St. Paul's Catholic Church

Road Trip. Sometimes you just need some time away.

By Parker Young, Executive Vice President and COO at Straub Construction

Parker Young - Jackson HoleRecently, my 16 year old son and I took a relatively unplanned 2,500 mile road trip. I say relatively unplanned, because just 10 days before, most of our crew was planning to head to Lakeland, Florida. Unfortunately, our host in Lakeland was out for his daily bike ride when he got hit by an inattentive driver. Fortunately, he was wearing his helmet! But he ended up with six broken ribs. So obviously they weren’t up for a Kansas invasion. (He is well on the road to recovery, thank goodness.)

So we started kicking around ideas about where we could go together. Ultimately, my son and I ended up deciding to go skiing. I had always heard about Jackson Hole and knew the area was gorgeous from our dude ranch trip a few years ago.

So off we went.

Parker - Jackson HoleIt always amazes me the variety of geography our country has in such short stretches. We left the rolling hills of East Kansas and Northwest Missouri into the corn fields of Iowa and Nebraska. Then we hit the foothills and high desert of Wyoming and ended up at the base of the Grand Tetons. All in 15 hours!

The skiing at Jackson Hole was unlike much of the skiing that I’ve done before. You actually have to work to ski! But the best part of the trip was forming fun memories with my son. Whether it was packing into a tram with 98 others to ride to the top, or him watching me walk off a run that was way too advanced for my skills. Or listening to K-State make the Sweet Sixteen on the road home. We had some great quality time to bond.

It was a good reminder that life moves quickly and you have to take full advantage of the time you’re given. No one is going to remember the day to day grind, but we always remember what happens on a fun road trip, especially with those we care so much about. When was the last time you carved out time for a road trip? If it’s been longer than a year, I encourage you to get something on your calendar in the next three months!

Parker - Jackson Hole Parker - Jackson Hole

From Superintendent to Solemn Mass Candle Bearer in 15 Minutes

By David Baalman, Superintendent for Straub Construction

Straub Construction: Benedictines of Mary ProjectI grew up going to a Catholic School where it was ingrained in me to do what I’m told. I learned respect and the value of hard work from the stern sisters who taught me. All of this has stuck with me through the years and helped make me who I am today.

My current project at Straub Construction has brought back a sense of nostalgia for those elementary days. I am the project superintendent at the Benedictines of Mary Queen of the Apostles in Gower, Missouri, where I’m overseeing the construction of the church for the cloistered nuns’ growing community.

But the nuns serving here in Gower are quite different than the sisters I remembered. These women are some of the happiest and most devoted people I’ve ever met. It’s an honor working with them to co-create the church they’ve imagined, not to mention how much I’m personally impacted every day while working with the sisters. Kind and patient though they may be, just being around the sisters here has been quite a stretching experience.

Building a New Church with Old World Construction

Straub Construction: Mass Candle BearerIt’s been one of the most unique structures I’ve been a part of during my career in construction. Unlike most of today’s modern structures, the sisters wanted a place of worship with an old world feel. Imagine a church in a French countryside, circa 1280 AD. All stone exterior, vaulted ceilings and buttresses, a huge bell tower… you get the idea.

Working on a church, especially for a monastery that about 40 sisters call home, is a unique kind of project. My role as a superintendent goes way beyond managing the creation of a functional space for a client. Each of the dimensions and aspects of the church has a sacred reason and intentional purpose. It’s my job to ensure that the construction process goes smoothly, but to also understand the “why” behind the construction.

Throughout the process, I’ve had the honor of working closely with Mother Cecilia. In some ways, she reminds me of the nuns who taught me in elementary school. She’s got a no-nonsense air about her, and isn’t shy to tell me her opinion or ask for help when she needs it. Whether it’s helping the sisters unload a truckload of feed for the livestock, or going over the Catholic history and purpose of the sanctuary design, Mother Cecilia teaches me so much about my faith every day.

She’s not afraid to push me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, but nothing like the cold windy week last fall.

A Visit From the Cardinal

Straub Construction: Mass Candle BearerThe Cardinal, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke would be visiting the monastery on the week of November 20th. Over the course of a few days he would be doing a retreat for the nuns, bless their cemetery, and serve in a Solemn Pontifical High Mass. It was a huge honor for the sisters, and there was a buzz of excitement in the air for weeks leading up to the visit.

Mother Cecilia stopped in my trailer on the Friday before and asked if I’d participate in the ceremony to bless the cemetery. My stomach dropped. Now, I may have a Catholic background, but I’m definitely not used to the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony she was describing, let alone having to play a part in it! I tried to politely voice my hesitation, muttering something about not having a cassock or knowing any Latin.

With her steady smile and reassuring voice, Mother Cecilia countered my objections and told me I would do just great. And besides, what superintendent gets to say that they’ve participated in a religious ceremony with a Cardinal? Her excitement and confidence in me melted my resolve and I agreed.

It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Besides the brief panic over forgetting my black shoes, (shout out to the owner’s rep, Paul Villotti, who lent me some of his) and feeling a little lost in all the Latin, it was a beautiful ceremony. Afterwards, His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke sought me out to thank me for the great job on the construction of their church as well as the help on the blessing ceremony.

Getting Out of My Comfort Zone

The Solemn Pontifical High Mass was scheduled for the following day and I was looking forward to attending. It was a rare opportunity to attend a Latin Mass led by a Cardinal! And this time, I didn’t have to worry about wearing a cassock or doing anything. Or so I thought.

I was up on a scaffold that morning, going over one of the flashing details when Mother Cecilia came to find me. She said “I’ve miscounted the servers we have for today’s mass and I need your help. I know you have the shoes and cassock here to do it!” It wasn’t so much a request as a statement of fact. I had been nervous about my small role in the blessing ceremony, but this was a whole other ball game.

I learned later that most people take three days in seminary training to learn the role of a candle bearer I was asked to perform. I had five minutes. My heart was pounding as I put on my cassock, rolled up the hem of my blue jeans, and tried to memorize all that Mother Cecilia and Father Drew were telling me.

We went into the sacristy and I grabbed my candle, then prayed that it didn’t go out during the ceremony. I worried about accidentally lighting the Cardinal’s robes on fire, but I pushed my concerns and nerves aside, hoping for the best.

Straub Construction: Mass Candle BearerJust like the day before, I didn’t understand everything that was going on throughout the ceremony, but it felt so special to get to be a part of it. I knelt with the candle while the fourteen other people attending did their various roles to help the Cardinal prepare for the mass. I was able to get the hang of genuflecting then standing without tripping over my robes. Even though I couldn’t tell what was all going on, it was clear each step of the process was full of sacred symbolism.

About five minutes into the Mass, I caught a glimpse of Mother Cecilia and she had the biggest grin on her face. Seeing that made all the nervousness from stepping out of my comfort zone worth it. I didn’t realize it when I went into work that day that I’d become one of the very few lay-people who can actually say they’ve been a part of a Solemn Pontifical High Mass.

So yes, I went from Superintendent to Solemn Mass Candle Bearer in 15 Minutes. And it was an amazing experience.

Project Spotlight: Holy Angels Adoration Chapel

By Ernie Straub IV, Project Manager at Straub Construction

Straub Construction: Holy Trinity Adoration ChapelStraub Construction recently completed an Adoration Chapel in Basehor, Kansas for Holy Angels Catholic Church. The Adoration Chapel was an addition on the existing church built by Straub Construction back in 2009.

It Takes a Team

It was essential to match the exterior architecture of the existing church so the Adoration Chapel would not feel “out of place”. Rod Fager of Rodney R. Fager Architect LLC was the architect on the project.

The inspiration for construction of the Adoration Chapel came from Father Richard McDonald in 2015. The size of the chapel and aesthetic mimics the Porziuncola, also called Portiuncula or Porzioncula, a small Catholic church located within the Papal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi in the Umbrian Valley. Inspiration also came from the Santa Maria degli Angeli, a Basilica in Rome.

Straub Construction: Holy Trinity Adoration ChapelMaterial selection, guided by Chris Castrop from Castrop Design Group, for the interior of the chapel was a team effort and the design committee had several late nights deliberating. Selection included Umbrian Travertine Tile to give the chapel an “old world feel”, a local limestone for the interior walls, walnut trim, and Verona White Brazilian Marble for the alter. The collaborative effort turned out to be a success in bringing the vision for the chapel to life.

Construction began August 4th, 2017 and the Chapel was completed on time December 31st, 2017. Straub self-perform scopes included earthwork and concrete and were led by our superintendent Nathen Lippert. Nathen worked diligently to meet the project deadlines while maintaining a high level of communication with all stakeholders on the project.

Special thanks to everyone who worked so hard on the Holy Angels Adoration Chapel!