COLUMBIA - A $6.6 million dollar building addition is headed to Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish Catholic School. The addition was approved in an effort to eliminate the need for trailers and basement classrooms.
Our Lady of Lourdes Principal, Elaine Hassemer said the school uses eight trailer classrooms and four classrooms in the basement of the rectory to educate its students.
“We’ve been lacking in space for many years. There have been temporary classrooms at this site for a number of years and we need to replace those for the safety and security of our kids and to enhance the learning environment,” Hassemer said.
Bishop Shawn McKnight, who was ordained in February, approved the plan to build the addition allowing approximately 200 students to move to the main school building.
Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Pastor, Father Chris Cordes said, “There’s been conversation in the Columbia community for a number of years about the need for more space for catholic education whether it would be for larger enrollment or, as we’ve made the decision, to move our students out of the trailers.”
McKnight approved an announcement, made on Saturday, that plans for the addition were moving forward.
The school started a capital campaign to raise the money and so far it has raised about $5.7 million according to Cordes.
The addition will include more than just new classrooms.
“Classrooms for sixth, seventh and eighth, an art room, music room, maker space, computer lab, library and the administration offices area will move into the new addition as well,” Cordes said.
The school has moved trailers from the front of the school, where the addition will be, to the back so school can stay in session during construction.
The addition will be 25,500 square feet.
The planning process has been going on for about 5 years. Hassemer said McKnight approved the plan now because of the money raised toward the goal.
Cordes said this comes at a perfect time for a different reason.
“Really the biggest thing to me is the safety issue of just really having students in trailers just isn’t the safest,” he said.
Cordes said the they will break ground and start construction this April and will move into the addition at the beginning of 2019-2020 school year.
Hassamer said the school is still accepting donations for the capital campaign and will continue until the goal is met.