Though the recently completed Mission San Luis Obispo retrofitting project’s budget was originally estimated at almost $2.8 million, project manager John Fowler somehow managed to come in more than $400,000 under budget.
And it wasn’t just a fluke. Fowler said he may have come in $2 million to $3 million under budget for a similar retrofitting project at Mission San Miguel, just north of Paso Robles.
“The secret is to involve the community,” Fowler said. “We get donations and visitors from all over, but most of the support came from locals – the parishioners, the community and other organizations and companies who all wanted to help restore the cultural and historical and geographical center of San Luis Obispo.”
Indeed, the mission is smack dab in the middle of the city. It attracts a fair number of tourists in addition to the hundreds of families that attend Mass there every week. The mission retrofit began in early 2008 with the first stage of the three-part project. First, the parking lot and youth center on the mission property were brought up to code, followed by the mission museum and gift shop. The final portion of the retrofit was the church itself, which was surprisingly stable considering it was founded in 1772.