Seventh graders at St. Francis Education Center likely will be the first class to graduate from a proposed new school in 2002, thanks to help from an undisclosed donor who provided $2.5 million for the project.
School officials say a lack of space prompted the campaign to raise $4.2 million to build on 9.5 acres on Silica Drive. The school has raised $3.2 million for the project.
Dozens of students, school officials, and parents gathered yesterday morning for a pep rally for “Keeping Our Inspiration Alive,” the public phase of the campaign.
The undisclosed donor is a Toledo resident whose children attend the school, principal JoAnn Tallarico said.
St. Francis Education Center, a private, Catholic School, is located on the Sylvania Franciscan grounds adjacent to Lourdes College. The school, which has 300 students in grades pre-school through eighth, started as a pre-school in 1973, she said.
School officials are proposing a 37,000 square-foot building west of the grounds.
“It's going very well,” Mrs. Tallarico said about the campaign. “We are very pleased with the result so far. Our goal is 100 per cent from the parents We are stressing 100 per cent participation to the best of their ability.”
The first part of the campaign started in August. Construction is scheduled for late February or early March. Classes would start in winter 2002.
“We have no space in this [old building],” Mrs. Tallarico said. “This building has been added on to and added on to. We don't have a gym.”
After the new building is complete, plans are for Lourdes College to use the old structure.
Mrs. Tallarico said a surge in enrollment should not be expected after the building is finished.
“The intent is not to become larger,” Mrs. Tallarico said. “But to better serve the current number with the best facility possible. We are kind of small, unique, and want to stay that way.”
The school plans to add another level of instruction for children who are not ready to move from kindergarten to the first grade, she said.
After the “transitional pre-first” program, a child could move to the second grade.
The pep rally yesterday included several speakers including student body president, Stephanie Weldon, an eighth grader.
She said she was excited about the younger children getting a new school and pledged that her graduating class would return to help when it is time to move into the new school.