Manhattan Catholic Schools is looking to the future with revamped buildings and new technology for students, said principal Scott Hulshoff.
During the summer, the school completed a more than $1 million remodel of both the elementary and middle-school buildings, and part of the funds generated at an auction Saturday will be used to purchase iPads for elementary-school students. Those are the latest steps in a multiyear effort to modernize the school that saw remodeling work last year and $30,000 invested in Google Chromebooks for middle-school students.
“It’s really important for us to improve the learning environment for our kids,” Hulshoff said.
Work to revitalize the elementary and middle-school buildings, built in 1943 and 1951, began about four years ago with a fundraising campaign that generated nearly $2 million. Last year, the school spent about $350,000 replacing single-pane windows in the elementary school.
This year, energy-efficient LED lighting was installed in the elementary and middle schools, along with new ceilings and fresh paint. Window heating and air-conditioning units in one wing of the elementary school were replaced with a modern central HVAC system.
Next year, the school will spend about $400,000 on centralized HVAC for the second wing of the elementary school. If money is left over, Hulshoff said, the school plans to redo flooring in multipurpose rooms and buy a new sound system for one of the gymnasiums.
The school has also invested in about $80,000 in wireless technology to support modern computer systems.
With veteran staff and teachers and high test scores, Hulshoff said modernization was key to attracting new families. The school has 265 students enrolled this year but would like to see the number increase to 300.
“The only detractor we heard, in the past, was that our facilities weren’t up to date,” he said.
As a private school, Manhattan Catholic Schools relies on tuition and donation drives like Saturday’s Night in Old Hollywood-themed live and silent auctions, said parent and auction organizer Barbara Wassenberg.
Organizers want to raise about $100,000 at the auction, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at St. Thomas More Church, 2900 Kimball Ave. About $10,000 of that will be used to purchase new iPads for the elementary school, and some funds will be used for landscaping and signage at the school.
“We live in a community with a fantastic public school system, so these are the things we need to do to stay viable,” Wassenberg said. “The whole Catholic community has really rallied behind this.”