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AT HOLY ROSARY SCHOOL: Grand opening for church addition

BEAUTY AND GRACE: The private adoration chapel, with a hand-made stained glass window, is part of the church project.1 / 2
THE RESOURCE CENTER, the Parish and School Library, were built and dedicated in honor of John and Bernadette Schueller and the Life and Light Center in memory of Vivian Smith.2 / 2

When the Holy Rosary community remodeled their 1916 school building four years ago, they probably didn't expect they'd be having their Grand Open House this year.

"It's about time, huh?" laughed Holy Rosary School Advancement Director Terry Paskey, "but we've been a little busy around here!"

A little busy, indeed.

The school has gone through a lot of changes since adding on and remodeling -- $2.7 million worth of changes.

But Paskey says some of the parishioners, businesses owners and community supporters that helped raise that money have never really had an opportunity to see what their efforts helped create.

So, school leaders are remedying that, as they kick off National Catholic Schools Week with a long-awaited Grand Open House.

The event begins Sunday, Jan. 29 with Mass at 9 a.m., followed by the Open House from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Paskey says people who haven't seen the school since the changes will be seeing the same old school in a whole new way.

"We made all the bathrooms handicapped accessible; we had to add an elevator so that we could get to the third floor of the old school; we added a new wing with administrative offices, a few classrooms and a private Adoration Chapel," said Paskey, adding that a spacious, new resource room has also been a big change for students, as has a grand new entrance.

"It's been gorgeous," said Paskey, "everybody comes in these main doors now, and the security is (better). It's nice having the younger students on the lower level, while middle school is all on the third floor."

The middle school students are all now placed together up on the third floor where they switch classes and have their own lockers -- a welcome change for them.

The new addition also holds a preschool-parish nursery and kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

"We were pretty squished before," said Paskey, "so it's been so nice having all this room."

And they're not done.

Paskey says they still have a few other things they'd like to see done to the old school when money becomes available.

"We want to get all new carpet in all the classrooms, re-do the cupboards and closets in the classrooms and possibly get sinks in them all, too," said Paskey.

Until then, the public is invited to see the updates the school has seen so far in its building.

"The community has been so good at coming out and supporting us, so I just hope they can now come and check out what we've done and celebrate Catholic Schools Week with us," said Paskey, who says they'll be celebrating at the same time as every Catholic Diocese in the country.

"The purpose of it is just to create an awareness on the part of the public that Catholic schools are there and available as an option," said Holy Rosary Principal Mike Connell, who adds that students do not have to be Catholic to attend Holy Rosary,

"It's open to every denomination, but they are required to participate in the (Catholic) activities we do here."

Aside from religious activities, the school is also celebrating their special week with a schedule of events spread from Sunday, Jan. 29 to Friday, Feb. 3.

"Every day we do something fun where they can dress up different," said Paskey adding that on one of the days the students will be introduced to their next big project.

"On Feb. 8 we'll be participating in the "Kid's Against Hunger Program," said Paskey. "This is the second year we've done this."

Program coordinators will be coming into the school with bulk shipments of food -- the students take it from there.

"They'll form an assembly-type line and package it all up and get it ready for shipping," said Connell, "it's to help serve youth hunger."

For more information on Holy Rosary School's Grand Open House or the week's celebrations, log on to