By Katie Fenstermacher
COLUMBUS – On Thursday, November 29, members of the Annunciation School community celebrated the much-anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s expansion. Talks of expanding have been ongoing for several years due to increasing enrollment every year – enrollment has almost doubled in the last seven years.
After much discussion and research school and parish administrators decided the best plan of action financially would be to build on the current location. A capital campaign started last spring to raise the $3 million needed to move forward with an expansion. As of today, the school has raised just shy of $2 million, which will allow work to begin on the first phase of expansion to include six new classrooms, a computer/STREAM lab, science lab, library and administrative offices. The front of the school will also get a revamp.
Representatives from each committee that worked on getting the school to this point joined Bishop Joseph Kopacz to “break ground” on this exciting new venture. The ceremony included alumni, parent, student and faculty speakers as well as a ceremonial turning of the dirt on the worksite. Earlier in the week, principal Joni House and Father Jeffery Waldrep got behind the controls of a backhoe to smash the front wall of the old building. Once they took a swing or two, construction crews took over to clear the lot for real work to begin.
Kyle McConnell, alumnus and committee member spoke about being in the first first grade class of 1963 and how much Annunciation school has grown since. His children and now his grandchildren have attended. Current parent Ashley Matthews, spoke about what this expansion means to her and her children while seventh-grader Jules Gallo, spoke about his excitement over having a new building.
Principal Joni House said her excitement is about more than just the new facility. “It’s just a joyful feeling. It’s been extremely heartwarming to see all the support that we have,” said House
Debbie Leonard, faculty member, spoke about her many years of employment and what a blessing physical growth means for the school.
Bishop Kopacz, and Father Waldrep also spoke at the ceremony. The new rooms should be ready by fall 2019.
Organizers hope to continue the capital campaign to add even more to the expansion, such as a stage for the gym and a working cafeteria.
(Katie Fenstermacher is the public relations and admissions director for Annunciation School.)