With the whole school assembled pep rally style in Mary, Our Lady of Victory Gym, Dan Meixner '84, president, announced the next project to be completed through the effort of LIFT — Leading In Faith Today, the school’s $20 million capital campaign. With an additional $3.1 million raised since the LIFT’s public announcement on January 30, 2014, the school Board of Trustees green-lighted plans to fortify and renovate the oldest building on campus.
Built in 1951 and located at the corner of Ludlow and Franklin Streets, Building One will undergo installation of new heating and cooling systems, electrical and plumbing, and new ceilings and flooring throughout. The $2.5 million project also entails the renovation of spaces within including seven classrooms and the school’s cafeteria. In addition, the current band room will be remodeled to better accommodate increased student participation in CJ’s growing performing arts program. The three-floor structure is also home to Mary, Our Lady of Victory Gym, which was refurbished through the gifts to the campaign in the fall of 2014, and the auditorium which remains a future priority in the scope of LIFT.
“These building improvements are the next step towards transforming all of our teaching and learning spaces to better meet the needs of our students and teachers,” Meixner said. “The addition of air conditioning makes year-round learning possible, and classroom improvements make the spaces more flexible to facilitate our teachers’ style of teaching and student collaboration. We also look forward to the transformation of our cafeteria into a vibrant place of welcome, one that can accommodate students during the day and parents, alumni and community members at other times.”
This project, coupled with the renovation of the CJ STEMM Center in 2013, means that the school has renovated more than 50 percent of the school’s classrooms and hallways since LIFT began. “We have been blessed with the generous support of so many alumni, parents, and friends of CJ to make this project possible,” said Meixner. “The response of the CJ community to the goals of LIFT has been so affirming of our priorities and progress. Even with the excitement of this latest project, we know that we can count on ongoing support as we draft plans to bring new life to the rest of our building, and our expanded campus.”
The Building One renovation is the latest capital improvement project following the opening of the Eagle Tennis Center in September 2011, the opening of the CJ STEMM Center in August 2013, and the refurbishing of Mary, Our Lady of Victory Gym in the fall of 2014. The priorities of LIFT also include increased operational support through the school’s annual fund effort and investment in strategic school initiatives. These include tuition assistance, ministry and service, teacher development and the opportunity to pilot programs such as Senior Capstone and Connected Classroom.
“The priorities of LIFT were chosen to help ensure that even more students have access to the kind of elevated experiences that will help them be successful at CJ and prepare them for the successful completion of their college programs,” Meixner said. “Ultimately, the advancements we are making through LIFT serve to strengthen the exceptional Catholic educational experience at CJ. We are providing our students with a strong foundation and supportive community to live an inspired life serving God’s people, as He calls all of us to do.”
Construction of the Building One project will begin over Easter break and continue through the summer. Meixner anticipates that most of the project, facilitated by Shook Construction and Pinnacle Architects, will be completed by the first day of school, August 12, with final touches to the second floor to be completed before the end of the calendar year.