St. André Bessette photoChurch remodel gets free help from architect.
St. André Bessette photo
Church remodel gets free help from architect.
A project of the nonprofit Architects Without Borders-Oregon will improve organization and increase space at St. André Bessette Church.

With support from other volunteers with Architects Without Borders, architect Jan Noethe led a pro-bono redesign of the 3,500-square-foot church.  

Noethe is the mother of Andrew Noethe, longtime pastoral associate who was recently picked to lead another Catholic nonprofit, L’Arche Portland.

The renovation at St. André Bessette will enlarge and reorganize the church’s second floor kitchen, add three ADA-compliant restrooms, and reconfigure the sacristy and basement to increase space for administrative activities and food and clothing donations.
Grants awarded to this project include $200,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust, $40,000 from the Collins Foundation, and $20,000 from the Anne and Eli Shapira Foundation.

These grants support the church’s Capital Projects and Preventative Maintenance goal (one of three goals in the parish’s $2.1 million Open Doors Campaign).

“Having AWB’s ‘in kind’ design expertise helped secure funding,” said Jessica Aleksy, St. André Bessette’s development coordinator.  “Foundations like to see organizations developing creative partnerships that can help to create no-or-low-cost solutions to make a foundation’s funds ‘stretch’ a bit further, especially in today’s economy.”

Noethe said she felt privileged to give something to St. Andre. To better understand the chapel’s work with the poor, homeless, addicted and mentally ill, Noethe and four other AWB-Oregon volunteers participated in morning hospitality services that provide warm meals, clothing, hygiene items, haircuts, foot care, clothing and conversation to guests.

An exact timeline has not yet been set for construction, though it is expected to start this summer. AWB-Oregon partnered with contractors Reimers and Jolivette to prepare a preliminary cost estimate for construction. Some of the construction cost will be mitigated through reuse of materials such as doors and plumbing fixtures, Noethe said.

St. André Bessette will arrange for other organizations to provide programs and services during the chapel’s closure.