ANTIOCH -- East Contra Costa's lone Catholic cemetery is expanding its services.
Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services is adding a 10,600-square-foot funeral center at Antioch's Holy Cross Cemetery to provide a more comfortable environment for families making burial arrangements.
The existing space, a chapel mausoleum on the 20-acre grounds and 1,400 square feet of offices, is too cramped, said Mike Brown, a Diocese of Oakland spokesman.
"The project will allow the diocese to expand its operations and fills a real need over the next few years," Brown said.
Brown said he hopes construction on the project can start in March and be finished either later toward the end of this year or early 2014.
The project design includes two separate, distinct buildings connected by a knuckle that contains a lobby area, defined with a 36-foot tower with an arched window.
The smaller building will include a 1,700-square-foot chapel and a 1,375-square- foot columbarium, or place to store cremated remains.
The bulk of Holy Cross' new project will be used for office space for its eight employees, storage, a lobby and restrooms, also allowing for three arrangement rooms and a showroom.
The added room allows Holy Cross to bring services indoors, as families are now forced at times to have services out in the heat and rain. It also means that grieving East Contra Costa families have a more convenient location for services
Plans for the new building were approved recently by Antioch's planning commission, though there were some issues that had to be resolved -- including adding a parking spot, adding a sewer connection, building aesthetics and replacing existing trees.
Antioch's other cemetery, Oak View Memorial Park, has not contacted the city about any expansion plans.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.