St. Peter Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights is planning an addition to house their growing number of preschool students.
The $4 million expansion will add four preschool rooms to the existing nine rooms and also build a new 500-seat worship center, said the Rev. Ted Andrada, senior pastor.
There are about 300 preschoolers at St. Peter right now, which constitutes more than half of the school's total 500-student enrollment.
After the addition, school officials expect the school's total enrollment to climb to 600 students, with 350 of those being preschoolers.
The church has about 900 parishioners. Church officials don't expect those numbers to dramatically change after the addition.
To make room for the expansion, a portion of Vail Avenue will be moved further away from the school, said Robert Flubacker, the architect in charge of the project. Currently Vail dead-ends into the church's property.
Arlington Heights parades will still be able to use the church grounds as a parade staging area, he added.
"We have been planning this for years, and now is a good time to build," Andrada said. "We'll be providing jobs and construction costs are down."
In the weeks leading up to Easter, parishioners pledged more than $2 million over the next three years.
"To the congregation, this is more than a project," Andrada said. "Raising this amount of money isn't easy for people. They are making sacrifices. But we don't have much choice. In about 25 years, this building will become obsolete."
St. Peter Lutheran Church and School has been at 111 W. Olive St in Arlington Heights since 1960. The church and school date back to the late 1800s when it used to be located at Northwest Highway and Highland Avenue.
"We've been here longer than the village," Andrada noted.
The project will go before the Arlington Heights plan commission and eventually need approval from the village board. If approved construction will begin this fall with the addition open in time for the church's 150th anniversary in March 2010.