By KATIE BORKOWSKI
CARROLL – One year and one day prior to April 24, the ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new Kuemper Catholic School field house.
John Steffes, Kuemper president, welcomed supporters of the Kuemper Tomorrow Campaign who gathered in the newly-finished field house for an open house.
“It’s a great day to be a Kuemper Knight,” said Steffes. “This has been part of a long-range strategic planning process going back to 2011. The field house is one of the last projects of this very successful Kuemper Tomorrow Campaign.”
He pointed out although the Kuemper colors are red and gold, there were many efforts “to go green” in the field house.
“We have numerous energy-efficient designs, the south windows with the three crosses, the high efficiency heating and cooling, LED lighting, motion sensors and three large solar panels,” said Steffes.
Father Gary Snyder, a retired diocesan priest and Kuemper graduate, led the campaign prayer and recited a reading from Isaiah.
“Our eyes are wandering in many directions as we view this spacious building, some of us for the first time,” said the priest. “I would like to draw your attention to the inscription on the wall – ‘We will run and not grow weary for our God will be our strength.’ This guiding principle comes to us from the prophet Isaiah in the 40th chapter.”
Jim White, one of the Kuemper Tomorrow Campaign chairs, acknowledged the campaign has been successful and many were involved.
“A group of people got together and identified the needs of Kuemper,” he said. “We have teacher enhancement. We have security. We honored our Franciscan roots by redoing our chapel. It was all done in a timely fashion. Everything is completed.”
White noted one of the rewarding things is the goals that they set out to complete are the goals “we stuck fast to. We did not modify them. We didn’t cut from one area to give to another. We held true to our original intent.”
“There are so many parts to what makes Kuemper great,” he added. “We have addressed so many of those parts. To accomplish things like that it takes committed people. The two people who come to my mind right away are John Steffes and Vern Henkenius. They worked endlessly and tirelessly. It can truly be said it would not have happened had it not been for those two people.”
White also recognized Matt Greteman, who was instrumental in working on the field house project.
“He brought the project in ahead of time and under budget,” he said. “Those are wonderful words to hear.”
White thanked the contractors who worked on the field house including Rotert Construction, Lohrmann Electric, Drees Plumbing, Mike Janning Flooring and all of the individuals who were part of the project.
“Our students are very active students,” Steffes pointed out. “Here at Kuemper we work at building a healthy environment to build their active spiritual lives, active academic lives and build up and keep their active social and extracurricular lives.”
After active days in the classroom with their teachers, many of the students end up in the field house with their coaches, Steffes reported.
“The Christ-centered environment must continue,” he said. “They are reminded by crosses on the wall and the inscription on the wall. We have a lot of coaches and they help instill the spirituality.”
Steffes told the story of one of the newer coaches who shared that working at Kuemper has helped him grow in his faith.
“What a great testimonial,” the Kuemper president said. “That clearly reminds us what Kuemper is all about. That environment must be first and foremost all day.”