Are True North and the North Campus the same thing?
“True North” is a vision about the future of Sacred Heart in light of the rapid growth in the downtown Tampa area, as well as the Gospel mandate to be a community who offers hope, hospitality, healing, and holiness to our neighbors. The vision centers around living our mission and building our future – where we continue to base our center of worship in our downtown church but also seek space and opportunity for ministry growth and outreach at our North Campus property.
The North Campus is our 9.5-acre property, just north of downtown Tampa that we already own and operate, and that will become our designated center of ministry and family life.
Is True North a vision for our parish or a building campaign?
Yes, it is a vision for our parish community. As we move forward in time with planning, there will likely be some construction that is necessary as part of the vision, but it is not a building campaign. The North Campus already has a number of structures on it that are utilized now and will be in the future as well.
I’ve never been to the North Campus. What’s on it?
Sacred Heart has owned the 10-acre property since the 1920s, when it was used for Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic elementary and high school. You can read more about its history here. After the school closed in the spring of 2012, the parish continued to use the space in limited capacity, but it still has the school, a convent, a gymnasium, an auditorium, a cafeteria/kitchen, a small general-purpose building that housed a library, and lots of unused space. The buildings are still used by parish ministries, so all of the buildings have been maintained and serviced as needed.
What ministries are already using the property?
Our Faith Formation ministry has consistently used the school building for their various educational programs on Sundays. There are approximately 250-300 children and youth participating each year. They also use the property during the week for Family Faith Formation on Wednesdays, Sacramental Preparation (First Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Confirmation), as well as Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
More recently, several other ministries have moved their regular meeting space to the North Campus, including the Choir, Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart Council of Catholic Women, Men’s Prayer Group, the Open Doors Ministry, and a number of Franciscan Care ministries. And each Saturday, Hands of Hope utilizes the kitchen and cafeteria space to prepare their weekly meal for the homeless.
Our goal is to move more ministry activity to the North Campus, where there is ample room, parking, and existing facilities.
Are there any new facilities planned?
Yes, there are. Step 1 is the development of a Site Master Plan, which is required by the City of Tampa, the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and the Parish Advisory Board. As part of that process, initial ideas will become proposals, which then have the opportunity to become plans.
Currently on the list for improvements are:
– The Convent: Renovating this space to become a “Center of Ministry,” which will hold ministry offices and meeting spaces for small groups.
– The Library: Renovating this space into a multi-purpose room for mid-sized meetings.
– Landscaping: Adding a wall around the property (brick and wrought iron) with additional improvements to the gates, parking, security, and curb appeal.
Longer-term ideas include the development of a parish center, the upgrade of the auditorium and cafeteria area as an event center, the expansion of our kitchen area to increase our support and outreach to the poor, the replacement of the gymnasium area with a modern recreation center, and so much more. And there are other ideas, too. We are asking all of parishioners to think about what more we can do to serve the community and parishioners alike. We’ve gotten ideas like a community garden, a columbarium and memorial garden, and more. We’ve also brainstormed scenarios for adding space for other Catholic-minded charities that serve the poor, like Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Love INC, and more.
Do you have an idea? We’d love to hear from you! Email us here.
Is there parking at the North Campus?
Yes there is! There are plenty of parking spaces and additional space to add more if we ever need to add some.
Will there be a Capital Campaign to support this True North Vision?
We hope not, but we will continue to evaluate the need as our vision comes to life. The growth in the downtown Tampa area (where our church is located) will take time, so we have the ability to plan and incrementally grow, too. We are hoping we can “pay as we go,” so while it may not be a classic parish capital campaign, we do rely on additional financial support from our parishioners. If you are interested in supporting this vision for our future, please use the True North giving envelopes, or designate funds to True North via our Online Giving portal.