CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Monsignor Edward Sadie first came to Sacred Heart Basilica in 1980, the parish consisted of two undersized school buildings, a church and a forest of parking meters.
Since then, Sadie has expanded the church, added on to Sacred Heart's school buildings, added a satellite program for Wheeling Jesuit University's graduate program, and acquired and developed about 15 properties in downtown Charleston.
Late last month, the parish opened the Sacred Heart Pavilion, its new state-of-the-art day care center and gymnasium on the corner of Quarrier Street and Leon Sullivan Way.
"We have plans to further expand our grade school, and eventually hope to have a Wheeling Jesuit undergraduate program on campus," said Ralph Hoyer, parish attorney and construction adviser for the new, 18,000 square-foot center.
"One day, we will be able to have a child six weeks old through graduate school, all within five blocks."
John Jarrett, whose Jarrett Construction Services handled both the expansion of Charleston Catholic High School and Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, said the new facility was built in just seven months. The $3.5 million facility came in on time and within budget.
The insulated concrete structure is designed for the maximum in heating and cooling efficiency and safety, Jarrett said.
Access to the building is by swipe card only, and Jarrett said 23 security cameras keep an eye on the campus, the four day-care classrooms, gymnasium and all entrances and exits. "We can tell you at any minute who's inside the building, and who's outside the building," said Hoyer.
"We've had very few problems," echoed Sadie. "But we want to be careful." The building was designed with the safety of children foremost.
That safety factor extends to the gymnasium, which features the parish's first-ever regulation basketball court. Jarrett said the high-tech flooring material is laid over a shock-absorbing layer of foam to lessen the chance of injuries.
Sadie has already gotten requests to use the state-of-the-art gym. Parish officials plan to use the gymnasium for parish events and take advantage of the regulation court.
"We have an extensive Catholic basketball league that has always been strapped for a place to play," said Hoyer.