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Providence unveils $6 million capital improvements project

Providence Catholic High School revealed details during a March 27 press conference for a new construction project as part of its capital campaign to expand the school’s facilities.

“I’m pleased to announce Providence Catholic High School has embarked on a capital campaign called ‘Building our legacy… every student every day,’” said the Rev. Richard McGrath, president of Providence Catholic High School. “The new student commons facility will provide a safe and welcoming central space for all students to gather before, during and after school hours.”

In 2011, the school’s administration, faculty, staff, students and parents began engaging in discussions and meetings for long-range planning for facilities maintenance.

Officials now intend to build a 21,800-square-foot student commons and cafeteria space. The new building will serve as the athletic competition entry and include a spirit wear shop and concession space.

Providence’s 36 original classrooms, which make up 70 percent of the school, will also be equipped with air conditioning using a portion of the monies raised.

“An added benefit is that the increased space will make it possible to consolidate our present four lunch periods into two lunch periods thereby creating time during the day for new academic opportunities and the introduction of a [Science Technology Engineering Math] Academy, with more formalized science, technology, engineering and math components,” McGrath said.

McGrath said it’s important that Providence open up time for learning to allow for the introduction of more electives to enhance the curriculum.

“Part of being competitive is offering solid college-oriented programs and classes that remain… in the progressive area,” McGrath said. “Since we are s totally college preparatory school, all our effort is to get them ready and into college. That’s our goal.”

Director of Advancement Ed Barrett agreed.

“Currently, the graduation rates [show that] 99 percent of our kids are going off to college,” he said. “That will probably maintain and be the same. We feel that through STEM, we can get them better prepared for individual areas of science and technology.”

Barrett recognizes that jobs in STEM are on the rise and said the school is looking to reach students more at their level.

“Although we’re a liberal arts high school—and we do that very well and we’re going to maintain that—we want to give our kids the opportunity if they wish to be in a STEM program to give them that additional science, math, technology,” he said.

“There’s little room in there for technology, let’s say, for graphic design, those type of things” Barrett said. “There’s a lot of room for growth in there, and this will allow us a little bit more flexibility to get creative with it.”

Officials are also working to ensure that construction of a new building will blend in seamlessly with older parts of the building.

“[We’re] conscious of our past and we look forward to what we’re doing for the future,” McGrath said. “We have to keep renewing things to remain competitive in the private school market.”

To date, the capital campaign has raised $3.5 million. Another $1.4 million is earmarked in the school’s reserve funds.

Providence officials want to reach the capital campaign goal, just in time for the school’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2018.

The project could get underway as early as this summer.

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