Sacred Heart Catholic School nearly ready for students
By Seth Leonard
Sacred Heart Catholic School, formerly located at 123 N. Ellis St., is in the process of moving operations to a new location near Isenberg Elementary School.
The new campus is at the end of Lumen Christi Lane, a new road off Jake Alexander Boulevard.
“Everybody’s thrilled with the property and thrilled with the location,” said Gail Mintz.
Mintz is an administrator for Sacred Heart and said the biggest difference is that everything is now under one roof.
The school itself was a long, narrow building supplemented by trailers. The church property includes a house on West Innes Street, the church on North Fulton and the convent on North Council. Boy Scout Troop 401 shared space between the church and school. The site had limited parking and offered no room for expansion.
The new site covers several acres, including a large parking lot. One large brick building houses all school and church office operations, meaning that inclement weather will no longer be a concern. The new church stands separately.
Hugo Gareis coordinates technical systems for the school and detailed some of the new features built into the facility.
The concept of the 21st century classroom revolves around imbedding technology into learning.
Interactive, digitally controlled white boards will allow teachers to display graphics at amazing speeds. Students will use laptops and tablets to interact with the lessons.
The centerpiece of Sacred Heart’s technical ascent is in the library. Media center is a term that is often applied to down-sized libraries that have traded books for dysfunctional computers. Gareis said that’s not the case this time. A media distribution center will allow anything, from DVDs to photos and software, to be put directly through to classrooms from the Internet.
“When they go to any high school or college they’re going to be using technology and long-distance collaboration,” Gareis said.
New classrooms are much larger and cooler than in the old building, which was erected in 1963. Kindergarten through fifth grades will also be housed in a separate wing from middle school grades.
What’s more, the school now has its own gymnasium. Before, students had to make use of the adjacent YMCA downtown, but a change in ownership complicated matters. A soccer field and softball diamond will eventually give the school’s athletic teams a place to practice and play.
Aside from boxes of books and desks, the stained glass from the old sanctuary is being removed and installed in the new church.
“It’s part of our heritage,” Mintz said. “They are very special to us, and very expensive.”
Although the size of the facility is increased, Mintz said that it is unlikely the actual number of people in the congregation will increase. The Boy Scouts will eventually relocate to the new location, but some things will be left behind. A lot of decisions are yet to be made, and with the school year beginning Aug. 20, leaders are hitting crunch time.
“I’m not sure what’s left to do, bring or buy,” Mintz said. “It’s just like your house. You bring what you have, then decide what you still need.”
Visitors and parishioners are welcome to come next week and view the campus, however, the church will not be ready for services until December.