Buildings and Grounds

The Diocesan Buildings and Grounds department administers and assists all parishes and schools in the La Crosse Diocese regarding their facilities. Our work includes service to pastors and administrators to help maintain and keep their facilities in the most functional condition while continuing to improve the facilities through project management.  We are here to support the schools and parishes, by being good stewards to our facilities and ensuring that they are safe and effectively maintained.

The Diocesan Buildings and Grounds department has a legal responsibility to manage any asbestos or hazardous materials that may be in a school or parish facility.  State and federal guidelines are put in place and enforced for proper regulation. We work with state certified environmental consultants who help us recognize and remove these hazardous materials that remain in many of our facilities.

The Diocesan Buildings and Grounds department has a moral and conscious responsibility to make sure the parishes and schools are safe, adhering to regulations and are fiscally responsible in regards to building projects.

Services Provided

  • Referral for construction, mechanical, electrical and other building related matters.
  • Assisting parish/school with project paperwork for contract review.
  • Convening Building Commission meetings for Capital Improvements.
  • Scheduling and coordination of asbestos inspectors and contractors.
  •  Asbestos regulation, consultation and awareness training.

Insurance Coverage of Church and School Buildings

Helpful Resources


Contract Review Procedure

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I. Introduction:

WHEREAS, by Canon Law the Bishop is the trustee and steward of all Diocesan property; WHEREAS, all Dioceses, parishes and Diocesan entities are experiencing claims against them with increasing frequency by third parties;
WHEREAS, the Insurance Liability carrier of the Diocese and its parishes and institutions has specifically recommended the consideration and adoption of contract review policies; NOW, therefore, it is appropriate for the Diocese of La Crosse to adopt the following contract review procedures.

II. Purpose:

This contract review process is intended to assist the Bishop and La Crosse Diocesan entities in avoiding time consuming and costly disputes by providing a mechanism for consistent, efficient and effective review of major Diocesan contract liabilities.

This contract review process is not intended nor does it replace the Diocesan consultative processes required and already in place in the Diocese. In addition, this contract review procedure is not intended to substitute authority and/or impose control other than that required by Canon or Civil Law.

III. Documents that require Diocesan prior review:

A. All contracts or agreements written or oral of whatsoever nature or kind the cumulative value which exceeds $5,000.00;

B. All building lease agreements written or oral regardless of value;

C. All deeds, mortgages, promissory notes, zoning petitions, annexation petitions, and any and all matters involving real estate regardless of value;

D. The only contracts excluded from this contract review procedure are Diocesan Teacher Contracts, Educational Administrator Contracts and D.R.E contracts, which are already reviewed under existing Diocesan contract review procedures.

IV. No Diocesan/Parish contract shall be approved if the contract provides:

A. An indemnificaion clause which requires the Diocese and/or Parish to indemnify the vendor;

B. An arbitration of disputes clause;

C. A choice of law other than Wisconsin;

D. A forum for dispute resolution other than Wisconsin;

E. A provision which requires the Diocese and/or Parish to pay the attorney fees and costs of the vendor;

F. A provision which requires just or proper cause to terminate the contract.

V. Substantive Provisions:

A. All contracts covered by this policy must be approved by the Bishop after a review by St. Ambrose Financial Services, Inc. and the Diocesan Attorney. No contract will be valid if advance Diocesan approval, as required by these policies, is not followed.

B. All contractors and service providers shall carry three types of insurance: Public Liability, Worker’s Compensation and Automobile Liability Insurance.

C. Certificates of Insurance shall be obtained verifying all three of the above coverages. The certificate of insurance must state in the box titled DESCRIPTION OF OPERATIONS/LOCATIONS/VEHICLES/SPECIAL ITEMS: Additional Insured is the Diocese of La Crosse, Bishop William Callahan and (Insert Name of Parish) Parish.
(The Diocese of La Crosse should NOT be listed as certificate holder.)

D. Contracts for small construction jobs, including renovations, and small additions shall be on a standard form contract.

E. Professional service contracts are required when contracting for the services of architects and engineers. The contracts shall require professional liability insurance to be provided to the Diocese.

Procedure for Routine Building Improvements

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All building improvement projects over $5,000.00 require initial contact with the Office of Diocesan Buildings and Grounds before proceeding with any improvement project.

The paperwork from all contractors must be sent directly to Office of Diocesan Buildings and Grounds, which includes the Improvement Authorization Request Form, original contracts and certificates of insurance. Please do not send “estimates”.

The certificate of insurance must state in the box titled DESCRIPTION OF OPERATIONS/ LOCATIONS/VEHICLES/SPECIAL ITEMS: Additional Insured is the Diocese of La Crosse, Bishop William Callahan and (Insert Name of Parish or School), City. A certificate of insurance must be obtained from each contractor for the project. If the contractor does not carry Worker’s Compensation insurance, then please have the contractor complete the Certificate of Independent Contractor Status form.

All of the proper paperwork for the project must be submitted in its entirety to be reviewed and approved.

Once the appropriate signatures are obtained, the Office of Diocesan Buildings and Grounds will return copies of the approved contract to the pastor or administrator. The pastor or administrator provides the individual contractors with a copy of the contract.

The Office of Diocesan Buildings and Grounds will assist pastors or administrators with any issues or conflicts that may arise during the building or capital improvement process. The Office of Diocesan Buildings and Grounds must also approve any project change orders or additional contracts for the project.

For capital campaign projects, please see Policy and Procedure for Building or Renovating in the Diocese of La Crosse.


Improvement Authorization
Certificate of Liability Insurance
Suggestions to Expedite Contract Review

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  1. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  2. Send original documents.
  3. Need “contract” not “estimates” (estimates are not contracts).
  4. Need a price certain contract:
    • No contingencies or price escalators.
    • Time and material contracts need a “price-not-to-exceed” provision.
  5. Must select and initial or reject and initial contract options.
  6. Need to accept contract offer before offer expires.
  7. Need to review all attachments and incorporations by reference materials.
  8. Need a Certificate of Insurance from each contractor:
    • Diocese of La Crosse, the Parish or School and Bishop Callahan need to be listed as additional insureds.
    • Worker’s Compensation coverage is required.
    • Need current certificate (not expired before performance).
  9. The following clauses are not acceptable:
    • Indemnification or hold-harmless provisions (clauses that require us to insure the other party for their own negligence).
    • Arbitration Clauses.
    • No agreements to pay attorneys fees of contractors.
    • Choice of law and forum provisions outside of Wisconsin.
  10. The following clauses are troublesome:
    • Unlimited or automatic contract term renewals.
    • Exclusive contracts (not allow any other contractor).


Capital Improvement Checklist
Certificate of Independent Contractor Status
Building Demolition Form
Small Project Contractor Permit Application

Contact Information

Office of Buildings and Grounds
Phone: 608.791.2692
Fax: 608.787.9802

Diocesan Finance Officer

Kathy Haverland, Administrative Assistant

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