Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church on Boca Grande island will be adding a new 3,642-square-foot Parish Hall and covered walkway connecting to the existing church building on site. This project presented some unique challenges as the expansion was made possible by converting an adjacent single-family parcel into a new Parish hall. Some of the challenges included getting Historical relief granted as this property is located inside the Boca Grande Historic District, as well as a Certificate of Appropriateness along with the standard development order. The ornate covered walkway / ramp mimics design elements from both buildings and will provide ADA access from the existing Church to the new Parish Hall as well as the modified parking lot. The walkway/ramp was designed to alleviate floodplain issues, prevalent on Boca Grande, in which the finished floor for the new Parish Hall needed to be 4 feet above existing grade. This Parish Hall will be able to accommodate overflow space for special events or larger gatherings the church hosts.
Both the projects architecture and landscape architecture focused on enhancing the historical elements already located on the site, by paying homage to the Old Spanish Mission architecture and landscape elements of the original 1950’s church. The new formal gardens fronting West Railroad Avenue and the parking lot reinforce the classical design language by paying tribute to historical European gardens using symmetrical low hedges laid out in formal shapes. Also, shell mulch, bougainvillea and alexander palms were incorporated into the landscape design, all of which were used extensively in the existing church. Finally, a rain garden was incorporated This unique design was able to successfully mitigate numerous layers of planning, engineering and landscape architecture challenges to get this charming Parish hall addition permitted.