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Campaign raises $8.7M for new St. Anne’s building

Submitted photo St. Anne’s Catholic School of Wabasso is 101 years old and the local parish is looking to modernize. Over the last year a campaign to build a new school has netted $8.7 million for a $12.2 million project.

WABASSO – After over a century of serving children and youth, St. Anne’s Catholic School in Wabasso is preparing to build a new school to better serve current and future Catholic school students.

“St. Anne’s Catholic School is rooted together in a rich 101-year-old history and anchored by the values of entering to learn Christ and exiting to serve Christ,” said St. Anne’s Principal Mary Franta. “Since 1923, when the school first opened, hundreds of people have stepped forward to provide sound academic opportunities in a faith-based environment for thousands of children and youth.”

The total project cost is $12,223,594 based on conceptual architectural estimates. Franta said this cost would include the construction of the new building and demolition of the old building.

Part of the reason a new school building is needed is accessibility. Franta said the school was originally built with three levels. Two additional wings were added to the building later, both were two story. This resulted in a lot of split level construction, with flights of stairs going up or down half a level. The different wings had separate entrances. The building has no elevator and due to the building’s age it would not be practical to install a new system. There are no restrooms on the main floor.

Other issues with building were a failing boiler and roof. A feasibility study conducted last year by the local parish determine a new building was the best option.

Franta said new school building will have one floor with a full gym and extra space for community use. The plan is to maintain the current St. Anne building until construction is complete. The new building will be built on the same lot as the current building. Franta said the new building will be built on the site of the current school playground. The playground will be moved to the site of the current school following demolition.

The campaign cabinet, school advisory board and finance council are reviewing cost estimates and cash flow projections to determine how the project will move forward based on the success of collecting the remaining $3.5 million in financial commitments.

“Ideally, we start construction this fall,” Franta said.

The parish will not begin construction until at least 75% of funds are secured. The campaign to raise money began eight months ago and has already raised nearly $8.7 million in financial commitments or 71% of the total project. Of that total, nearly $6 million has already been collected, banked, and is earning interest. Franta believed it was possible construction could begin before the end of the year.

“In my humble opinion, we are standing on the shoulders of those who created and sustained St. Anne Catholic School for the past century. Our capital campaign is a golden opportunity to once again demonstrate that commitment and help secure the school for future generations.” Franta said.

“As we continue to invite more individuals, families, businesses and organizations to support the campaign, their financial commitment will provide an accurate indication of when we can break ground for the new school facility,” said Rev. Tony Hesse.

“The decision we choose regarding our new school campaign commitment will allow us to support our legacy of faith. Now it is up to each of us to help protect and grow this legacy for our children, grandchildren and for future generations,” he said.

St. Anne Catholic School is a pre-school through 6th grade school. An estimated 110 students will attend the school next year.

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