New hub of archdiocese opens for ministry

The lobby of the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, 3940 Poplar Level Road, is seen from the rear entrance. The main entrance, visible in the right half of the photo, faces Poplar Level. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister and Jessica Able)

The lobby of the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, 3940 Poplar Level Road, is seen from the rear entrance. The main entrance, visible in the right half of the photo, faces Poplar Level. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister and Jessica Able)

By Marnie McAllister and Jessica Able, Record Staff Writers

A three-story glass atrium illuminates the main lobby of the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, where dozens of employees began unpacking boxes Sept. 5, their first day of work in the new home of the archdiocese.

Amid cardboard boxes and pristine new carpet and paint staff members described the center, at 3940 Poplar Level Road, as fresh, new and wonderful.

The new 40,000-square-foot headquarters of the archdiocese, located on the campus of Holy Family Church where the parish school once stood, houses 52 offices and nine meeting rooms, including a conference room that can seat 100.

Patti Vance, secretary for the Office of Priest Personnel and the Archdiocesan Communications Office, above, prepared her office at the newly-opened Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center Sept. 5.

Patti Vance, secretary for the Office of Priest Personnel and the Archdiocesan Communications Office, prepared her office at the newly-opened Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center Sept. 5.

Thirteen of the archdiocese’s ministries will be housed  in the new center, which cost approximately $6 million to build. Among them are the offices of the archbishop, chancellor and vicar general; the Archdiocesan Communications Office, in part (The Record will remain at the

Maloney Center); Finance Office; Office of Mission Advancement; Office of Personnel; Office of Priest Personnel; Parish Leadership Development Office; and the Metropolitan Tribunal.

Until this week, these offices resided at 212 E. College Street near downtown Louisville in what’s been known as “the Chancery” for the last 55 years. That building, which is now vacant, is expected to be sold.

The Catholic Schools Office, currently housed at the Flaget Center in South Louisville, will move to the new center later this month, once the new school year is well under way.

Flaget Center will be used exclusively for retreats and conferences.

Inside, the Pastoral Center is well lit by natural light streaming in through the atrium windows and abundant office windows.

Office suites located off main hallways, define the layout of the center. Many of the suites — composed of a single doorway leading to an entry room and several individual offices — are located in what were once the classrooms of Holy Family School. The Pastoral Center is partly new construction and partly renovated space.

Sarah Wunderlin, director of annual giving for the Office of Mission Advancement, noted that the office suites make for a convenient work space and thinks the new Pastoral Center is “a major upgrade.”

“It’s nice that we are closer together for the collaborative nature of what we do,” Wunderlin said.

Paint, granite, tile and carpet are all in earthtones throughout most of the building, lending a cool and calming atmosphere to the space.

The front entrance faces Poplar Level Road and the parking lot is accessible via Mercer Avenue, located at the south end of the campus.

Holy Family Church, located next door to the center on its north side, remains an active parish, which is one reason the archdiocese is now headquartered there, noted Dr. Brian B. Reynolds in an interview about the building plans.

“Archbishop Kurtz likes to say that healthy parishes make a healthy archdiocese. That’s a value we’re promoting by locating the pastoral center in a parish,” he said.

The Pastoral Center has nine meeting rooms of various sizes, including the one above. Several of these meeting rooms will be equipped with TVs, where slideshow presentations and other media can be viewed.

The Pastoral Center has nine meeting rooms of various sizes, including the one above. Several of these meeting rooms will be equipped with TVs, where slideshow presentations and other media can be viewed.

Reynolds, the chancellor and chief administrative officer of the archdiocese, oversaw the building project.

At the end of the Sept. 5 opening day, Reynolds said, “Our new building is a Pastoral Center, based in a parish, visible, accessible and efficient.”

The center, which sits prominently on Poplar Level, is a third of a mile from the Watterson Expressway, making it accessible to people coming from all points of the archdiocese. The building is also handicap accessible.

Throughout the weeklong moving process, Reynolds praised the efforts of staff, including employees from Catholic Charities and the Flaget Center, who pitched in to make the move possible.

A worker cleaned windows in the atrium of the new Pastoral Center. The 40,000-square-foot building, located on the campus of Holy Family Church where the parish school once stood, houses 52 archdiocesan offices.

A worker cleaned windows in the atrium of the new Pastoral Center. The 40,000-square-foot building, located on the campus of Holy Family Church where the parish school once stood, houses 52 archdiocesan offices.

On the morning of Sept. 5, as the building’s new inhabitants unpacked their boxes, there was a feeling of excitement.

Sister Paula Wolff, executive secretary to the archbishop, gave a brief tour of Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz’s wing and described the new space as “wonderful, new and fresh” and admitted feeling overwhelmed, a description shared by many of her colleagues.

“The new Pastoral Center will be very accessible for people. I think it will work well for people,” she said.

Teresa Esparza washes her hands in one of the Pastoral Center’s new restrooms last week. Normally the housekeeper at the Flaget Center, Esparza offered to help setup furniture around the Pastoral Center.

Teresa Esparza washes her hands in one of the Pastoral Center’s new restrooms last week. Normally the housekeeper at the Flaget Center, Esparza offered to help setup furniture around the Pastoral Center.

Sharon Archer, a notary in the Metropolitan Tribunal office, said the space was “wonderful” and she was “trying to sort everything out.”

Despite feeling overwhelmed by the move, staff seemed to keep a sense of humor, too.

As Sal Della Bella, director of the Office of Parish Leadership Advancement, opened his boxes, he simply asked, “Where’s the coffee?”

Linda Thomas, also a notary in the Tribunal office, joked that her movers were arriving soon to begin unpacking her boxes. “My movers — meaning me,” she added.

An open house and dedication of the new building are planned for Oct. 28.

One of several hallways in the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, where Holy Family School children once walked, is flanked by offices and meeting rooms.

One of several hallways in the new Archdiocese of Louisville Pastoral Center, where Holy Family School children once walked, is flanked by offices and meeting rooms.

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