A project at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church that began as a door replacement has grown into a full-blown upgrade to the building entrance.

“We noticed people were holding onto the hardware of the doors to help themselves up and down the large step at the entrance of the church so we decided that prior to replacing the doors, we would eliminate the large front step by raising the elevation of the front area to make it flush with the threshold of the front door,” said Father Samuel West, the church pastor.

Nineteen concrete steps lead up to the front doors, and two more will be added to raise the elevation of the front walkway to be level with the front doors.

New guardrails that meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act will be installed with six brick pillars to match the original church facade.

“We aren't making any changes to the original facade of the church,” West said.

Plum Construction began work on the project about a week ago and was building forms Thursday with a decorative design that will match the front of the church.

Located on West Bradford Street in downtown Sonora, the church was established in 1851. The current building was built in 1862.

The project is being paid for by the proceeds of a raffle for a car in 2017 and contributions by private donors, West said.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of August. Until then, mass is held in the hall adjacent to the church.