By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Notre Dame High School is extremely pleased to announce that its Gymnasium Renovation Campaign recently hit the half million dollar mark! That does not mean that fund-raising has ended, though. Contributions are still needed to meet the campaign’s goal of $850,000. However, they are far enough long that work on the project will begin soon.
According to ND Advancement Director Ian McAra, the planning stages for this project actually began nearly two years ago when work that needed to be done was discussed. Then they circulated the proposed work to see if it generated any funding interest. Obviously, it did!
McAra said, “We didn’t start gathering the funds until December of 2015 and we are extremely happy with the way it has progressed. We truly believe that because Bishop Bransfield and his staff at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offered to provide us with a matching gift grant of $300,000, it had a great impact and was a tremendous incentive for donors to make gifts. We are so grateful to our constituents who have contributed thus far.”
The building was built in 1955 and the bleachers in the gymnasium are “original”! McAra noted that an insurance audit revealed that they were probably unsafe, and that seemed to start a snowball effect.
“We didn’t want to put new bleachers in an old gymnasium and have to do the floor at a later date. Then we also didn’t think it was wise to invest in the gymnasium without addressing the roof first. Add to that that the old windows in the gym leaked air, making heating the space difficult and costly. So it was decided to try to tackle all of these multiple issues.”
The Notre Dame High School gymnasium is utilized for a number of purposes. Not only are physical education classes held there, but both high school and middle school basketball and volleyball practices and games – as well as cheerleading. In addition, student assemblies, band concerts and school theater productions take place there. Because the gymnasium is so multi-functional, these needs were a priority. Sealing the deal was the safety issue for both students as well as the public who attend functions there.
Renovations will include a new roof and windows for the entire school and specific renovations to the gymnasium will encompass new bleachers, painting, a new gym floor, wall padding, backboard system, score boards and score table, as well as heating and lighting.
McAra stated, “The new heating system in the gymnasium will be zoned so it can be heated separately from the rest of the school.”
Dismantling the bleachers and preparations for painting will begin the latter part of March, and following a week or two of demo work, the windows will be replaced – probably in early April. And project work will continue one step at a time until all the needs have been addressed.
Catholic education has a long standing tradition in Harrison County, and it promises to remain a source of pride where academic excellence is achieved and character is developed. Notre Dame High School has a very devoted “family” of alumni who generously offer their support to keeping the school visible.
Anyone who would like to follow the project’s progression or learn more about making a contribution may visit the school’s website at www.notredamewv.org. Campaign donations are still being accepted and can be made online as well as by contacting Ian McAra at 304-623-1026.