St. Patrick School raises funds for activity center

Rendering courtesy of Schorr Architects/Dublin

St. Patrick School’s plans for expansion include a 12,000 square-foot activity center to be added to the back of the existing school on Elm Street in London. Corna-Kokosing Construction Co. will be the general contractor. 

Fundraising is in full swing for St. Patrick parish’s second phase of facility improvements. The goal is $1.6 million for a 12,000 square-foot activity center to be attached to St. Patrick School, 226 Elm St., London.

The plan is to add the activity center to the back of the school, where Phase I construction has already been completed. Phase I included the addition of three middle school classrooms, a library, an art room and a music room at the school, as well as renovations at the church.

The activity center will feature a regulation high school basketball floor and volleyball court, two practice courts each for volleyball and basketball, bleacher seating for 350 people, a stage, and rest rooms. The facility will be air conditioned and surrounded by additional parking spaces.

"The Parish Activity Center will definitely take our school to the next level, and the parish, too," said Dr. Jacob Froning, St. Patrick principal.

A growing sports program has left the school short on practice space. This year, the school, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, has four volleyball teams, four boys’ basketball teams, and four girls’ basketball teams. They compete in the Diocese of Columbus Recreation League, and each practices twice a week. The existing multipurpose room cannot accommodate them all.

"We have been begging, borrowing and stealing gym space. We’re very appreciative of Fairhaven and London public schools for helping us out," Froning said.

The school sports teams won’t be the only ones to benefit from the new space. Adult sports leagues are a possibility, as is rental of the space to the public for selected activities. The parish, too, will use it for weddings, bereavement dinners and other large gatherings. The facility will be able to seat 320 people at banquet tables.

"Our hope is to begin construction in three to four years," Froning said. "We need at least half of the money in the bank and the other half pledged before we can begin."

A dinner and auction this spring was the project’s first major fundraiser; it raised $34,000. Organizers plan to repeat the fundraiser next year on April 19. The theme will be "Under the Big Top: The Greatest Place on Earth."

The event’s planning committee is already collecting auction items and sponsorships. This year, the options ranged from jewelry, handcrafted collectibles and sporting events tickets to home décor, gift cards, and vacation packages. Additionally, art projects created by students were auctioned off. The wares included a bench, Adirondack chair, jelly cupboard, stools, crosses, table and paintings. The 220 people who attended the 2007 event also bought raffle tickets for chances to win goodie baskets assembled by each of the grades at the school.

The 2008 dinner and auction planning committee includes Mindy Ball, Lori Brenneman, Suzie Higgins, Michelle Horn, Erin Laymon, Sherry Ley, Jamie Weiner and Julie Weiner. To donate auction items or to become a sponsor, call St. Patrick School at 740-852-0161.

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