FALLS CITY (SNR) – Progress continues on the new Sacred Heart Activities Center at Sacred Heart School in Falls City.
The new addition to the school will include a gymnasium, a new lunch room and commons area, a new P.E. facility and weight room, a new venue for concerts and presentations, and a practice facility that will also be used for junior high games.
The school community has long needed the new facility. High school athletes currently use a local city auditorium for practices.
“Practices are run on an early and late schedule with the last practice ending at 7:30 p.m.,” said teacher Christina Wertenberger. “Students don’t get home until well after 8 if they live in the country.”
She added that the city auditorium is also used for wedding receptions, blood drives, public presentations and other events.
“We are then forced to practice at the public school after they are done practicing, or in Tiehen Gym after the junior high practices.”
The school’s existing Tiehen Gym, built in 1924, will be used as a practice gym and for elementary indoor recess time and supervised public activities. As the new building is situated on the old elementary school playground, a new playground will be installed.
The project was funded through the “RENEW 125” campaign. The first part of the campaign was “Forward Funding of Teachers.”
“Our first appeal for the future funding of teacher salaries resulted in pledges of $1,258,808, of which to date $1,125,460.66 has been paid and matched as promised by a generous benefactor,” said Msgr. Robert Roh, superintendent.
“The response to our second appeal for the new activity center is a wonderful testimony to the loyalty of our Irish faithful,” he continued. “At this point in time, we have pledges enough ($2,700,000) to pay for the construction of the building itself. We will need $150,000 for the ‘furniture and necessities’ to complete the project.”
The campaign involved direct solicitation, a phone-a-thon, and gifts that range from one dollar to thousands of dollars pledged over a five-year period.
Bleachers for the activities center, and a flag pole and flag were donated in January, but the “wish list” to complete the project still includes many items. Donations may be made toward playground equipment and ground cover, weight room flooring and equipment, training table, training room cabinets, scorer table, concession room cabinets, sound system, gym floor covering, mid-court divider curtain, and a TV monitor for the commons area.
Ground was broken for the project in May 2014, and construction started in June. Exterior walls are in place, insulation is being installed and work on interior walls has begun.
“We are watching it grow each and every day,” said Msgr. Robert Roh.
The weather is a key factor in determining when the metal work and roof will be finished. Negative temperatures, wind and snow have been factors the workers have faced thus far.
Once the roof is finished, the new activities center will be sealed off and work on the interior will begin. The next projects will include the gym floor, locker rooms and weight room. The school is shooting for the grand opening to be around the beginning of August.
The school, which participates in Class D, serves 228 students Pre-K through the 12th grade, with 67 students in the high school. Sacred Heart is supported by five parishes in southeastern Nebraska: St. Mary in Arago, St. Mary in Dawson, Ss. Peter and Paul in Falls City, Immaculate Conception in Rulo and St. Anne in Shubert.
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