Photo Courtesy Fretz Construction Co.
Best Small Project: St. Marys Catholic Church Expansion and Upgrade
Photo Courtesy Fretz Construction Co.
The $1.5-million project was delivered under budget and early.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Expansion and Upgrade

Plantersville, Texas  Region ENR Texas & Louisiana

Project Team

Owner Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Architect Ziegler Cooper Architects, Houston

General Contractor Fretz Construction, Houston

Engineers/Design-Build Subcontractors Gessner Engineering, College Station, Texas; Raven Mechanical, Houston; Solomon Electric, Montgomery, Texas; J&S Mechanical, Houston

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Plantersville, Texas, has grown considerably in recent years, thanks in part to the attraction of its historic sanctuary. Rather than build an addition, the owner opted to expand and preserve the look and feel of the 95-year-old facility. The contractor cut the sanctuary in half, moving one end back by 30 ft. The team filled the void with materials that matched the original construction, a major project goal. To ensure the interior bead-board siding would match and remain level, lasers tracked movement between the two ends. Old interior siding was saw-toothed so that it meshed better with the new materials.

Locals have long called the building "the Painted Church," so it was critical that the ornate interior paint scheme be preserved. Repainting would have been too costly, so existing interiors were protected from new construction, humidity and dust as the new infill area was completed. New pews were handcrafted to match old ones. Crews reclad the exterior with new Hardieplank siding, which did not affect the building's historic look.

The $1.5-million project came in under budget and early, in time for the church's largest annual fund-raiser.