Pastor’s Letter, July 30, Fr. Longenecker

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Earlier this summer our Headmaster, Tommy Curtin, wrote a series of letters bringing you up to date on the developments at OLR school.

At that point we were unsure whether we would be able to acquire the five acre plot across Frontage Road from our property. Even if we were able to obtain that land, it was not clear exactly how to use the new acreage. Should the new school be built there or keep that space for future development?

In March we had a meeting with the architects and key stakeholders in the parish and school: parents, alumni, faculty, parishioners and benefactors. The architects presented three plans for campus development—all of which involved building on the present campus. At that meeting a general plan was approved and the architects have worked with us to refine the layout and floor plans. Now they are working on some concept drawings.

The plans as they now stand are to construct two school buildings. The first will be built behind the existing lower school and will house the lower and middle schools. Then in the second phase the present lower school and the Guadalupe Hall would be demolished and the second building would be constructed at right angles to the first building. This building would house a new, larger Guadalupe Hall, a full kitchen, school cafeteria and the Upper School. The ground floor would house school and parish offices. A future third phase will provide a new Athletics and Fine Arts facility. This could be built either on the site of the existing gym or on the newly acquired five acre plot.

The next step will be to hold a general meeting in mid-September to present these plans and concept drawings to the whole parish and school community. This will be the opportunity for everyone to see what is being planned and to offer feedback. When we have approval from the majority of the parish/school community we will begin to work with contractors to put a price tag on the project.

Once we have a rough estimate of the cost, the parish and school financial teams will put together a financial plan. Then Mr. Curtin and I will make a presentation to the Bishop, and the administrative team at the Diocese to achieve Diocesan approval. We will request permission for the project and for a major capital campaign.

For the last decade we have been patching and repairing our crumbling school facilities. As everyone has agreed, the existing school buildings are totally inadequate for the future of our school. The future is not only for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. The long term effects of Catholic education are far reaching. A strong Catholic school is the key to a strong Catholic future, and a strong Catholic future is key to a strong and healthy culture. 

Please pray for the success of this venture. We believe our new project will attract the support of Catholics not only in our parish, and in the upstate, but that it will be a sign and example for many other parishes and schools across the diocese and beyond.

Your pastor,

Fr Longenecker