PARRISH -- The Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. March 1, for its $3 million Program Center at DaySpring Episcopal Center.
The diocese's 97-acre religious and conference center in Parrish was designed by Fawley Bryant Architects of Bradenton and built by Willis Smith Construction of Sarasota.
The 12,500-square-foot center will serve as DaySpring's primary facility for youth and adult programs, art and music recreation activities, retreats, teaching and worship.
The Rev. Dabney Tyler Smith, bishop of the diocese, will preside over the groundbreaking, which will include representatives from the architectural and construction project team.
"DaySpring's original vision was to create a place to serve the spiritual growth and development of the people of God in the diocese," said Smith. "In just 35 years, the vision has been fulfilled and continues to unfold."
More than 100 Episcopal priests will attend as well as Episcopalians from all corners of the diocese. The groundbreaking at DaySpring Episcopal Center, 8411 25th St. E., will be followed by a reception and dedication.
All events are open to the public.
The new program center replaces an aging portable building and represents the first of a multiphase, 10-year DaySpring master development plan initiated in 2014.
Two key amenities include a 5,000-square-foot multiiuse recreation/meeting hall and a 2,000-square-foot pool alongside an outdoor pavilion.
Construction for phase one is to be complete by fall with use of the program center by November. Pool and pavilion are slated for completion in December.
The master plan calls for two additional phases, which will include construction of a new worship center and residential facilities.
More than 31,000 Episcopalians are a part of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, which stretches from Marco Island north to Brooksville. The 77 congregations and 12 Episcopal schools of the diocese encompass 12 counties in the Tampa Bay area, including the cities of Sarasota, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Plant City and Naples.
The religious retreat and conference center property will be along Manatee River, a significant portion of the land is undeveloped.
"The architectural design has an emphasis on attention and appreciation to the wildlife areas and nature paths enjoyed by visitors at DaySpring," said Jedd Heap, project architect. "As a vital centerpiece to the master plan, the environmentally friendly Program Center includes gathering spaces and porches that are covered by the natural overhangs of surrounding trees."
Architects introduced energy reducing measures into the design by using increased wall and roof insulation, insulated glass, LED lighting and highly efficient air conditioning. In addition to the architect and builder, the project team for phase one includes the engineering firms ZNS Engineering, Hees & Associates, and ME3 Consulting Engineers. Parrish.
For information: visit dayspringfl.org. Learn more about the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida at episcopalswfl.org.