ALGONA - St. Cecelia Parish and Bishop Garrigan Schools have launched a five-year, $4 million capital campaign.
Separate, but simultaneous, campaigns will address the needs of both the parish and its school community. A feasibility study has already been completed, Eugene Meister, Bishop Garrigan president, said.
"The campaign and the feasibility study is for both St. Cecelia and Bishop Garrigan, because we're so closely aligned," he said. "One of our facilities, Seton Grade School, is located on site at St. Cecelia, which is obviously one of our major centers for classrooms."
The campaign hopes to raise $2.5 million for a new parish center and gathering space.
"They've got some parking issues that's on the immediate part they're attempting to do," Meister said. "The part of the original academy that's part of our school program, that would come down and St. Cecelia Parish would be looking at building a gathering space, parish center."
The new parish center will adjoin the Rochleau Center, and serve a dual purpose. It will both provide a gathering space outside the sanctuary to use prior to liturgies, sacraments, weddings and funerals, and create a place of assembly for adult faith formation, funeral luncheons, parish breakfast, Fall Festival and other meetings and activities.
The campaign will also increase the parish endowment through planned giving, providing support of its operating budget and security for the parish into the future.
Bishop Garrigan Schools will also benefit from the campaign and its construction project.
Enrollment at the school, which is grades seven through 12, Meister said, has grown over the past three years and is expected to continue to grow. Space for extracurricular activities, though, is limited, and the school hopes to add grades five and six to its junior high.
"The campaign hopes to generate enough funds to build a gymnasium, which would be our major spectator gym," he said. "The current gym, Friedmann Auditorium, is our fine arts center too. With the increased amount of activities over the years as we've added students, the gym has been utilized at a more phenomenal level."
Building a new gymnasium also would allow the school to recapture some classroom space, Meister said.
"Some of those classrooms have been used in other ways, such as office development and meeting room space," he said. "We would be able to recapture some classrooms and then move (grades) five and six to this center and better use our overall facilities."
An endowment fund for salaries, tuition and plant maintenance will also be built through this campaign. A salary increase for its teachers is essential, Meister said.
"We need to say thank you to them," he said. "This is a way to do that."
According to Meister, the campaign will allow Bishop Garrigan to remain an educational leader in north central Iowa, to hire and retain outstanding teachers and offer opportunities for all students.
Meister is optimistic the parish will reach its goal.
"We've just begun," he said. "We're just in the process of getting the committees together and expanding that. We're in the initial stages of making the calls and having visits with the people."