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Holy Savior announces capital campaign for new church, school

After years of planning and preparation, Holy Savior Catholic Church and Academy has launched a capital campaign with the hope of building a new church and school. 

The church officially announced its “A New Hope, A New Home: Built of Living Stones” campaign during Masses that were celebrated on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016.

"Holy Savior Catholic Church has, for many years, fed the hungry (God's Food Pantry), and provided a Catholic education to countless children and youth, both from our parish and outside our parish,” said Fr. Jim Billinger, pastor of Holy Savior. “I hope we can build a church and school facility that will contribute, in an even greater way, to the work of the gospel in the northeast community of Wichita.”

The project cost is estimated at approximately $12 million. Fr. Billinger said that the most important aspect of the project is that the church and the school – which have been in separate locations for more than 12 years – would be united back together on the same campus.  The new building would be located at the existing church site, at 13th Street North and Erie.

The building, designed by Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, would have three distinct spaces: 

  • The church and worship space would be approximately 11,000 square feet and would include a 3,500-square foot gathering area. The worship space would accommodate 500 people, which is about twice the existing church’s current capacity. There would also be an Adoration Chapel and adequate office space (the current church office is located in the rectory) and multiple breakout rooms available for all current and future ministries.

  • The space for Holy Savior Catholic Academy would be approximately 22,000 square feet and would house all grades in pre-kindergarten through eight. The new school would be able to accommodate 300 students. The middle school grades would have specialized rooms dedicated to art, science and music. The new facility would also include an atrium and a 2,500-square foot dual use library and media center.  The administrative corridor of the school would also allow space for a counselor and a school nurse.

  • The shared space, between the church and school, would include a 9,800 square-foot gymnasium and a 4,200-square foot cafeteria. Both would be available to the school and church for various functions, including athletic games, church and school programs, and funeral dinners.  

The parking lot, which would have access from 13th Street and 14th Street, would have approximately 150 spaces and a drop-off area. The campus would also have a large playground area for recreational use of the school and church.

A new building project at Holy Savior has been discussed for many years. After all, the existing church building, built in the late 1940s, was originally designed to be a gymnasium; a separate church was initially envisioned in 1948.

Thirteen years ago, the school was relocated to a different campus because the school portion of the campus could not adequately support a school program. Over the years, the church facility has continued to deteriorate. Time has taken its toll, as is evident by the foundation and structural issues. The church has only three available classrooms for a music room, religious education and other programs.  The gymnasium at the church leaks, and the kitchen is too small to support large parish functions or funeral dinners. The northern part of the building had to be demolished years ago due to extreme mold issues.

The school, located now in a former public school near 15th Street and Oliver, is inadequate in many ways, Fr. Billinger said. For example, he said, the classroom sizes are below what is recognized as standard, the heating and cooling system is antiquated and inefficient, the school facility lacks a gymnasium for a proper physical education program, and there are no areas for a school counselor or nurse. In addition, the cafeteria is located in an annex, and there is no space large enough for large school gatherings.

Dr. Delia Shropshire, the school principal, said being away from the church has presented challenges for the school that being back on the same campus would help solve.

“We have been separated from the church for more than 12 years now and the separation has taken its toll on our evangelization and religious education efforts,” she said.  “Our children of other faith traditions have limited time to see the beauty and the fullness of our Catholic faith because we have to travel by bus for Mass and for church related activities. We cannot take our children into the church for Stations of the Cross or as a part of a religion lesson because our church is over a mile away.”

Holy Savior began the preparation for the campaign in November 2015. The church has recently started the solicitation phase of the campaign. Holy Savior is working with the Steier Group, out of Omaha, Neb., to assist with the fundraising for the campaign.

Fr. Billinger believes the church has positioned itself to have a successful campaign. And he hopes that people who hear of the campaign will be open to supporting it. Work could begin as early as this summer.

“It is quite a leap of faith, but we hope that we could begin this process of actually building this new church, this new campus within six months to a year,” he said. “I hope that those who hear of the campaign would adopt the same intention that we have, namely to care for the poor, to give an education to children, to provide a quality faith-based education. That’s our hope, that’s our mission.”


Holy Savior school organization selling discount cards to benefit capital campaign


The Holy Savior Catholic Academy PTSO is selling cards that offer discounts to several area businesses including: Long John Silver’s, Panda Express, Dairy Queen, Midas, Sonic Drive-In Papa Murphy’s, and more. The discount cards are $10 each, and proceeds from the sale of the cards will benefit Holy Savior’s capital campaign, A New Hope, A New Home: Built of Living Stones.  Cards are available at Holy Savior Catholic Academy, 4640 E. 15th Street North.  For more information, call 316-684-2141.


Holy Savior students put on Christmas program

Students from Holy Savior Catholic Academy celebrated the Christmas season by holding a program featuring dance, music, and praise.

Families packed the church to watch the program, held each year by students from the academy.

Holy Savior thanks everyone who helped make the program a success, and thanks parishioners for taking the photos at the program.


Gene and Yolanda Camarena presented with Light of Faith Award

Holy Savior Catholic Church parishioners Yolanda and Gene Camarena were honored Thursday, Aug. 20 as recipients of the Inter-Faith Ministries of Wichita 2015 Light of Faith Award.

The Camarenas were presented with the award during the 2015 Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner at Beech Activity Center.  They were honored for their support of the education of young people throughout the community. Their work with youths includes outreach programs to students at Holy Savior Catholic Academy and scholarship programs they have established.

More than 300 people attended the banquet, where a video that included interviews with the Camarenas and others they have helped was shown.  The Light of Faith Award was one of five awards presented at the event.

Holy Savior congratulates the Camarenas for this prestigious honor.

From Light of Faith Award 2015

More than 330 turn out for 2015 Holy Savior Red & Black Banquet

More than 330 people attended the 2015 Holy Savior Red & Black Banquet on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Holiday Inn, 549 S. Rock Road.

The theme for the banquet was “Moving Forward in Faith & Love,” and included dinner, performances by the Holy Savior Catholic Academy choir and the Holy Savior Catholic Church choirs and a silent auction.

Austin Newry served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Mickey Winesberry Crigler and Tasia Roberts each gave a testimonial on the impact of Holy Savior Catholic Church and Academy on their lives.

The program featured remarks from Fr. Jim Billinger, pastor of Holy Savior Catholic Church, and Dr. Delia Shropshire, principal of Holy Savior Catholic Academy.  Bishop Carl Kemme of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita also addressed the audience during the banquet.  The event was highlighted by a presentation from Matt Hamm, of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, who provided an update on the possible new church and school campus for Holy Savior.  Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture has been working with a building committee at Holy Savior Catholic Church for several months on sketches and designs for a possible new church and school.  Mr. Hamm provided the most recent sketches and plans for the new building.

Holy Savior wishes to thank everyone who supported the banquet either by attendance or through donations. Holy Savior also wishes to thank this year’s banquet committee: Kim Batiste-Bufford, who served as chairwoman of the banquet; Stacie Santiago; JoAnne Batiste; Deb Gifford; and Austin Newry. The church also thanks Michael Kinard, who took the photographs for the banquet.

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Holy Savior Catholic Church and Academy
1425 N. Chautauqua
Wichita, KS 67214


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