With the recent growth in enrollment, Sacred Heart School broke ground on a new $3M addition in June. Construction is set to begin over the summer of 2018 and continue through 2019. The new seven classroom addition will be open to students starting in the fall of 2019.
Sacred Heart School, with the support of donors as a part of the New Day Campaign, has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. The school maintains Personalized Education Profiles for all students in gr. 6–12, has implemented a new school leadership structure, increased faculty salary compensation and added funding for advanced degrees for faculty, added six on-site dual college credit courses for students, increased tuition revenue collection, created a full-time marketing and admissions position, and started the Sacred Heart Foundation 501(c)(3) to help supplement education costs and manage scholarships and endowments.
In just five years, Preschool-12th enrollment is up 30%, with an expected increase of over 100 students by Fall 2018. The school expects to host double sections of all grades except 4th, 5th, 10th, and 12th when school resumes this fall.
With recent growth, Sacred Heart has tried to squeeze every bit of space out of the current structure, converting areas meant for other purposes into classroom space. The upper grade level of the present school building has already lost three full classrooms, and subdivided another classroom into two as the school tries to accommodate the expanding enrollment. “The need for more classroom space has become a limiting factor in our offerings at Sacred Heart,” says School President Carl Adolphson, “If we want to continue our growth and academic excellence we need more space.” A growing student body has now created a bottle-neck as students progress to the upper grades.
“We keep getting calls about enrollment,” says Jen MacLeod Koller ‘02, the school’s Admission Director. “Our Preschool and Kindergartens are full at 40, capped, and at the point of having waitlists, with 6th, 7th, and a few other grades not far behind.”
With the understanding that the school will run out of space after the coming year, the Sacred Heart Foundation has been working on financing an addition and was recently awarded a generous $2.5 million dollar matching grant from the Engelstad Family Foundation to be used towards new construction. “They certainly didn’t have to do this for Sacred Heart. But, they did,” says School Superintendent, Msgr. Mike Foltz. “The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways and we will honor their gift by making Sacred Heart School the best it can be.”
The Sacred Heart Foundation plans to Seize this Moment
The Sacred Heart Foundation will have to raise a matching $500,000 by December 31st, 2018, to secure the $2.5M dollar grant. The Foundation concluded that this would be an opportunity to build upon this generosity as the school had just finished off the New Day Campaign nearly two years ago. “After generating $6M from scratch going back to 2013 we pondered the practicality of launching another campaign,” says Sacred Heart Foundation Chair Dan Zavoral ‘93. With the a new addition structure comes a need for additional staff, maintenance costs, increased faculty salaries, and additional subsidization for scholarships and tuition assistance for current and new students. The Foundation has grouped these needs together into the Seize this Moment Campaign.
On February 12th, 2018, the Sacred Heart Foundation Board, Finance Council, Pastoral Council, and School Advisory Council met in a joint session to discuss options for growth and acceptance of the $2.5M dollar grant offer, as well as the $7M Seize this Moment Campaign Plan. All four groups unanimously endorsed the plan to construct the addition and move forward with the Campaign.
On May 2nd, the Sacred Heart Foundation hosted a campaign kick off event detailing the campaign’s intentions. The first objective is constructing six new classrooms and a commons area on the south end of the current school at an estimated cost of $3M using the $2.5M match and raising $500,000. The school plans to cap enrollment at two sections of each grade K-12 with 40–50 per grade level. “Projections indicate we can continue to fill second sections,” says Adolphson.
When the new addition opens for students in the fall of 2019, it will be dedicated to the Sisters of Mount St. Benedict. “Sacred Heart School would not have been possible nor would it have flourished without the dedicated leadership of the Sisters of Mount Saint Benedict,” says Foundation Executive Director Dennis P. DeMers ‘66. “Dedicating this addition to them is a fitting and appropriate way of recognizing the multi-generational influence these gifted women have had on our parish.”
Adding capacity in the elementary enables the school to reclaim space lost in the high school and allows more students to be able to filter into various class offerings in grades 7-12th. Filling upper level seats makes the entire enterprise more cost-efficient and allows more scheduling options to make the high school experience more attractive.
“We need to continue on our current trajectory financially and in enrollment growth to meet our long-term goals,” says Adolphson. School Administration recognizes there are some challenges associated with adding onto the present structure of Sacred Heart School. “By raising additional funds beyond the $3M cost of the new addition,” explains Adolphson, “we will be able to extend our growth time allowing students to grow and fill the high school, fund current and future building maintenance needs, and keep us on our current path to ensure Sacred Heart School is here for the next 100+ years!”
The growing desire of a Catholic education option is not something limited to Sacred Heart. Superintendent Msgr. Mike Foltz has noticed a changing tide in interest in Catholic education in the Greater Grand Forks area. “It has been a great experience for me these past five years in collaborating with the Pastors of Holy Family, St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s to grow our Catholic schools,” says Foltz. “It is our vision and hope that we will, in the not too distant future, have all of our schools full and have a waiting list.”
With that goal in mind, Foltz is optimistic about the future. “We will continue to partner through the Grand Cities Catholic School Committee to enhance our collaboration with our leadership, teachers and staff,” says Msgr. Mike Foltz. “When we keep the focus on Christ and the students all things are possible.”