Holy Cross School – Blessed Sacrament Center is showing off a shiny new look to students, teachers and parents, with the opening of school year.
Renovation work has been underway for two months to enhance the school learning environment. Workers have installed new lighting and new carpeting in hallways and classrooms, lowered hallway ceilings and added fresh paint throughout the school.
The school gymnasium has all new lunch tables, brighter lighting and more space for student activity with the removal of older bleachers. Restrooms have been upgraded, stairs resurfaced and a new roof and new boilers have been installed.
Diane Ralston, in her 40th year as fourth grade teacher in the school, notices the difference.
“’Wow’ is what I say to myself when I’ve been in the Blessed Sacrament Center,” said Ralston. “The paint, lights, carpet, and bathrooms all make the building look so fresh and bright and uplifting. I feel energized just walking into the building.
She added, “I can’t wait to see the children’s faces when they walk into the new and improved Blessed Sacrament Center.”
Parish members and visitors who attend Knights of Columbus breakfasts and dinners in the gym will notice the remodeling, too. The improvements have made the multi-use gym more flexible for both students and parishioners.
A team of adult and student volunteers helped Holy Cross clean and furnish classrooms with all new lab tables, paid for by 2018 Heelan Auction Fund-A Cause donors, along with newer desks and storage cabinets.
While Bishop Heelan High School football players pitched in one day, the entire Briar Cliff University soccer team recently spent hours moving the heavy furniture to upper floors of Holy Cross on Aug. 8.
According to Debi Younger, recently-named principal for Holy Cross, the school has enjoyed an excellent reputation in its history for producing students ready for learning in high school and college.
Blessed Sacrament houses grades 3-8 classrooms. Holy Cross School also includes St. Michael Center for grades PK-2. The school is part of the Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools system.
When it became evident the Blessed Sacrament Center needed improvement, a capital campaign was initiated and was met with a resounding response.
According to Father David Hemann, pastor of Holy Cross Parish, some of the most important work in the world happens in Catholic schools.
“However, this education doesn’t happen without a facility in which this deep and important work materializes,” he said. “Blessed Sacrament Center was in urgent and desperate need for repairs and replacements.”
The finance committee, the parish council and the buildings and grounds committee discussed and prioritized the needs and after the “painstaking” acquirement of bids, a resolution was submitted to the diocese concerning the repairs, Father Hemann noted.
Father Hemann pointed out one of the stipulations from the diocese for the acceptance of the resolution was the implementation of a capital campaign drive, so the parish would not deplete its savings below a “fiscally-responsible level.”
Father Hemann clarified the repairs not only benefit students at the school but also PREP (Parish Religious Education Program) and many other activities.
“Holy Cross includes the explicit and consistent dimension of faith formation,” he said. “Consistent and deep faith formation leads to holiness of students whose lives will make a difference – lives that will echo int