St. Joseph Church parishioners and members of the community gathered to celebrate the progress on the construction of the new multi-purpose building during a topping-off ceremony July 31.

The ceremony, according to officials from the church, was conduced when the last and highest beam was placed on top of the structure during construction.

Parishioner and school alumni Brad Hegeman led the ceremony. Hegeman, who is the president of Nabholz Construction, said the topping off honored the work of the men building it and was a testament to the safety procedures that were in place.

Church Business Manger Matt Mallett said they gave everyone four days to sign the beam and put their names on the project.

"We had a beam full of signatures," he said. "I was fortunate enough to sign. It was fun seeing names all on there. It was really cool."

Mallett said around 40 people attended the event.

St. Joseph has been working with Nabholz Corporation and H & N Architects on the project.

Joanna Nabholz, principal with H & N and former St. Joseph student, was present for the ceremony.

"As a St. Joseph graduate and parishioner myself, it was incredible to see so many people leave their mark on a building that will be here for many years to come," she said.

Nabholz said they are currently finishing up the steel frame of the building and starting to frame up the walls.

Mallett said they still need to raise around $6 million for the project and are continuing to see progress of which they "are very pleased."

Now that people are seeing a physical structure, Mallett said, he thinks mindsets of the congregation have altered.

"We’re definitely seeing a lot of excitement, especially once they started to see the progress," he said. "Once you have that visual evidence there, it helps."

Mallett said they are blessed that everyone has embraced the project and everything has fallen into place the way it has.

He said so far they have faced a few challenges, but overall, it’s been a "pleasantly smooth ride," and he was grateful to be a part of the process.

The 40,000-square-foot building, which is the first major phase of the campus renovation project, will include a kitchen, cafeteria, gift shop, a lobby, two large multi-purpose rooms, stage, a reception area, youth department, offices, classrooms, extra storage place and more.

Mallett said this phase is on schedule to be competed by July 2018.

The next phase, he said, is to deal with the old Parish Hall, improve parking and fix the old College Avenue street that ran through campus to make it more appealing.

The grand total for the entire development project, including Parish Hall plans, comes to nearly $10 million with the early, 18-month part of the design being a little more than $8 million.