A 15-minute ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 18 started what Sacred Hearts Principal Kim Frederick had hoped for during her 15-year tenure.
“And in those 15 years, this has been a dream for so many of our students and staff, as we have served the Catholic community of Sacred Hearts for almost the last 100 and 27 years that we have been here,” Frederick said during her remarks for the groundbreaking for the addition to Sacred Hearts School. “There are so many faces in this crowd that went to school here, who are current students who are staff members. It’s truly humbling.”
Frederick gestured to the groundbreaking area, located at the northern edge of the school in the open space between the Parish Center and the school. “We are standing on the edge of what will be the new school addition,” Frederick said.
“For those of you who have brought your kids to kindergarten in the basement for the last, I don’t know how many years, or who have gone out to music and art in the trailer behind us, or who have kids down at 4K and daycare, it will be amazing to have all of our children under one roof,” the Sacred Hearts School principal added, “and to be able to have our community close together.”
Earlier Sunday, when thunderstorms smacked the Sun Prairie area, Frederick called Msgr. Duane Moellenberndt and asked, “So what’s Plan B?”
“Kim did indeed ask me when it was storming and the rain was coming down and the thunder was booming all over, ‘what’s plan B?’ I said, ‘we leave it up to God’ and God provided, as he always does,” Moellenberndt said.
The monsignor — who thanked others in attendance, including Madison Diocese Bishop Don Hying and Msgr. Donn Heiar from St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Sun Prairie — looked at the ceremony as more of a continuation.
“This is, as Kim said, a day of tremendous excitement and joy as we celebrate this milestone for Sacred Hearts Parish,” Moellenberndt said. “For well over 125 years, our parish has had the wonderful opportunity to provide a Catholic education through Sacred Hearts School. What a gift that has been for this parish community, the City of Sun Prairie, and all the students and families who have been a part of this school. This project that we have embarked upon will help to ensure that quality Catholic education will continue for many years to come.
“Thank you to each one of you for joining us today,” Moellenberndt said. “You honor us with your presence.”
The monsignor also thanked many of the staffers of the parish and the school who had helped to prepare for Sunday’s groundbreaking. The three-story, 2,100 sq. ft. addition will provide a new main entrance to the school, a new space for kindergarten classes, permanent art and music rooms, and a modern library/media center with a maker space for hands-on learning.
Bishop Hying offered his blessings and prayers during the groundbreaking, even sprinkling holy water on the groundbreaking site.
“There’s such a psychology of enthusiasm and passion around projects like this. And so, as I said at mass, there’s not too many Catholic schools in 2019 that are adding on and you’re one of the few that are, and that speaks volumes about your dedication to the mission of the church and to the mission of Catholic education,” Hying said.
“I’m a big proponent and fan of Catholic schools and sometimes people question the expense of that. You know, why does the church put so many of our resources into our schools? Study after study shows that graduates of Catholic schools are more highly committed Catholics in their practice of the faith and their knowledge of the faith in their concern for the poor and for the common good of society,” Hying said.
The bishop offered his congratulations on the progress to date.
“It’s not easy. There’s many factors that work against us,” Hying said. “And yet, despite all of that, here we are in this auspicious beginning. So, what a joy and honor to be with you. So we just have a simple blessing and then I think we’ll be throwing dirt for a little while.”
When Hying, who was celebrating his birthday Sunday, asked when the project would be completed, Moellenberndt said the project is scheduled for April completion with a summer dedication.
“Okay, I can come back on my birthday next year,” Hying said. “When I’m 57, we’ll come back together. It’ll be great.”
The Sun Prairie City Council gave final approval to a campus plan that included the school addition on June 4. The project is funded by the So That Future Generations Will Know capital campaign. Led by more than 20 volunteer school and parish families, the campaign has raised more than 70% of its $5 million goal in private contributions from roughly 150 parish and school families, area businesses, and foundations.
Additional funds will be raised to fully finance the project before the end of the year.
The project is led by general contractor Findorff; PRA, architect; and McDonald Schaefer, capital campaign consulting.
Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School has been a part of the Sun Prairie community since 1892.
The school admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.
Learn more about Sacred Hearts School online at http://www.sacredhearts.k12.wi.us/