By Ruby Thomas, Staff Writer
Assumption High School has broken ground on a $6 million construction project that will transform its 65-year-old campus, adding 35,000-square-feet to the school sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.
“What this will do for our school is really nothing short of transformational because it will touch every aspect of the education that we offer to our students. And that’s what’s important. This is not about a shiny new building. It’s about the education that we are going to provide to the young women who come to Assumption,” said President Mary Lang in an interview June 30.
Assumption, located at 2170 Tyler Lane, opened in 1955 with 150 students. Key parts of the building, including the main entrance and cafeteria, have remained the same ever since Lang said. The school now has an enrollment of 930 students.
“You can imagine how incredibly antiquated and undersized it is for our current enrollment,” she said.
The small cafeteria, for instance, requires five 25-minute lunch periods. The lines are often long, leaving students with only a few minutes to eat, said Lang.
“With a larger cafeteria, not only will it be a much better experience for our students, but it will allow us to go down to fewer lunch periods, which will open up time in our day to enhance our curriculum. And that’s what’s most important,” said Lang.
The school is also getting an accessible main entrance with security features that will be located to the rear of the campus facing Tyler Lane. The project will also add 10 new classrooms, a new chapel and additional parking space. The new classrooms will support the school’s aviation program as well as its science and engineering curriculum.
Lang said she’s particularly excited about plans for a new chapel.
“We are going to have a beautiful chapel and it will be very prominent so when you walk in you will know you are in a Catholic school,” she said. “Our faith is most important, our Catholic identity is intrinsic to who we are and so we want that to be very much a part of this project.”
The current chapel, capable of holding about 45 people, is tucked away in the building and hard to get to, she noted. The new chapel will hold more than 100 people.
“It will be something that will be right there when you enter the building. I know it will be a source of comfort for people and they will want to visit it,” said Lang.
The project will also “pave the way for some really critical updates” in the current building, said Lang. These updates will include converting old classrooms to “life science” classrooms, putting in a new PA system and a new sprinkler system. The St. Catherine convent, which sits across the street from Assumption’s campus, will become a visual arts building. The Sisters of Mercy gave the St. Catherine convent to Assumption.
The old cafeteria will be converted to a space for the school’s learning differences program, said Lang.
Assumption has acquired the American Legion Post building, located at 2919 Bardstown Road as well as the old St. Raphael daycare that is adjacent to the school. Both spaces will be used for parking, which is critical to the school’s growth, said Lang.
The construction project is funded by an $8 million capital campaign called “Launching the Future of Assumption High School.”
“I’ve been amazed by the generosity of donors,” said Lang, noting that $5.5 million has been raised already. “I have no doubt that people will continue to be supportive of what we do. They’ve experienced the power of an Assumption education in their own life or as a parent they’ve seen what it’s done for their daughters.”
Two million dollars from the campaign will go towards the school’s endowment and financial aid program.
“We know it’s the future of Assumption to really grow that endowment and secure our financial future, but really that endowment will be directed to offering more financial aid. We know that the biggest barrier to an Assumption education is finance … we want to be able to dedicate more funds to financial aid so that no family has to walk away from Assumption because they can’t afford it,” said Lang.
The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2021.