Bishop Heelan breaks ground on new school project.
Almost everyone agrees it's time for a new Bishop Heelan High School.
"Our current buildings have served us well for over six decades. They are as old as me, and that's old," said Bishop R. Walker Nickless.
Band Director Michael Prichard has been here for seven years. He says the current high school lacks in amenities, and his students suffer.
"They don't allow the students to have a proper learning experience. We don't have any practice facilities, there's no auditorium, a lot of times we move our performances off campus, or into a gym," said Prichard.
That's all going to change though. Wednesday, officials broke ground on Phase One of the new Heelan High School, what's called the arts wing. Inside will be a 600 seat auditorium; art, vocal, and band classrooms; a chapel, and more. Not just a school, a landmark.
"The new Heelan High School will not be as obscured or hidden as it is now. We will be prominent, we will be right here on this hill for the entire city to see us," said Chair of the Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools Board of Directors Pat Sealey.
The project will cost $15 million. Officials say funding is secured.
"We've had pledges over $15 million, we've reached that goal. We have over half of the cash in hand as well," said Superintendent and Interim President of BHCS Dr. Dan Ryan.
Phase One is set to be complete in 2014. Prichard and his students can't wait.
"I am very excited to see the dirt being moved over here everyday. With the addition of more practice rooms, better facilities, it will definitely help the students improve," said Prichard.
Officials say they'll start raising funds for Phase Two soon. It'll hold the bulk of Heelan High School's new classrooms, plus a new gym. Officials think Phase Two will cost around $10 million dollars, a total of $25 million for the whole high school.
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The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic. More >>
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