St. Charles Church and School Becomes an Architectural Landmark with New Church Addition

St. Charles, a flourishing parish, was faced with severe space shortages in both their worship and education areas due to rapid growth. Although the existing worship space could accommodate 400 people, more than 500 attendees would regularly fill the pews during three out of the five weekly masses. During Christmas and Easter, the numbers would increase to as many as 900.

To address this capacity issue temporarily, St. Charles began live-streaming services and utilizing two large screen televisions in the adjacent Borromeo Room to accommodate the overflow of worshippers. The school also experienced significant growth, with enrollment increasing from 168 students in 2002 to 302 students in 2020. With these factors in mind, the goal was to expand the capacity from 600 to 1,050 while creating a prominent presence along Hwy 16 in Hartland, Wisconsin.

To permanently tackle the space issues, a master plan was developed, outlining six phases to expand both the worship and school facilities. The objective in this phase was to create a space that captured the essence of the parish and catered to the needs of the growing community, including designing a new stand-alone traditional church that would be highly visible from its location.

The newly constructed church addition seamlessly integrates with the existing church and school. It features a Romanesque-style design with a domed rotunda and a 118-foot-tall cupola. The main west entry is accentuated by a 100-foot-tall four-sided bell tower, adorned with multiple four-level arched openings at the prominent northwest corner. Circular windows strategically placed at the north, west, and south entrances are designed to accommodate future stained-glass inserts. The baptismal font, an ornate marble piece from Italy, replaces the small wooden font previously used by the church.

The use of terra cotta and gold metallic standing seam metal roofs further enhances the concept of permanence. Additionally, the base of the concrete exterior wall features a larger scale running bond masonry pattern at the corners, symbolizing the timeless nature of the building and its connection to the site. The design incorporates aluminum-framed exterior windows with lightly tinted clear glass, adding to the overall aesthetics.

This new addition not only accommodates the growing parish but also serves as a visually striking landmark, a testament to the thriving spirit of St. Charles Church.


Hartland, WI


30,490 Sq. Ft.

Services Provided:

Architectural Space Planning, Architectural Planning and Design, Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Plumbing Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

Stu LaRose


Vice President | Director, Education and Worship

As part of a transition in firm leadership, Stu returned to Zimmerman to lead our Education and Worship Studio. For more than a decade, early in his career, Stu acted as a project architect and project manager on many of the firm’s most notable education projects. This includes the multiple award-winning University of Wisconsin-Mechanical Engineering addition and renovation and University of Wisconsin Fluno Center for Executive Education projects. He also completed work for several private college and university institutions as well as K-12 school districts around the state.

In addition to his early career experiences, Stu also has nearly a decade of experience as a senior facilities architect and project manager with the University of Wisconsin Office of Capital Planning and Development. In that role, Stu participated in all aspects of project development for the University of Wisconsin – from concept request through agency occupancy. He managed the delivery of more than a quarter billion dollars of constructed projects for UW including the $53 million renovation of Witte Hall, the $42 million Gordon Commons, $47 million Dejope & Leopold Residence Halls and $46 million Meat Muscle Science facility. Most recently, Stu has acted as a senior project manager for one of the area’s most active design / build firms. Stu holds a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.