Elementary to be added to GICC

The goal is to begin construction in the summer of 2023
The 27,500 square foot building will hold 14 classrooms and comfortably accommodate 280 students from pre-K through 5th grade.
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 1:53 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - An elementary school will be added to the Grand Island Central Catholic School campus.

The plans were announced by the Diocese of Grand Island on Monday.

“The time has come for us to return to a full K-12 Catholic School in Grand Island,” said Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt of the Diocese of Grand Island. “I’m pleased to know there is so much support for a Catholic elementary school in our community.”

Plans call for the construction of a $9 million, single-story addition to connect with the current GICC school building located on Ruby Avenue. The 27,500 square foot building will hold 14 classrooms and comfortably accommodate 280 students from pre-K through 5th grade.

Other planned amenities are an atrium, offices, additional resource rooms, restrooms and storage space.

The goal is to begin construction in the summer of 2023, and to welcome pre-K and elementary students for the 2024-2025 school year.

“From my first day on the job, I’ve heard from Catholic and non-Catholic parents a desire for GICC to once again offer elementary education,” said Jordan Engle, GICC Principal and Diocesan Superintendent of Schools. “We acted on this wish by conducting a thorough, community-wide survey in 2019. The results revealed strong support for a Catholic elementary school, which encouraged us to take the next steps.”

Despite the national teacher shortage, Principal Engle said he had no doubt they would be able to fill all open positions in the new school. He also said he was confident in finding 280 students to fill those open spots by the time they open the elementary school doors.

”We have really great choices for education here in Grand Island, but the hunger is there for more choice and I think a lot of that comes by nature of our schools currently being a little bit crowded,” Engle told Local4 News.

Engle added, he and other school officials planned to meet Tuesday to plan for their capital campaign the project.

Following the 2019 survey, GICC had to table the discussion due to the COVID pandemic. It was in late 2021 when the conversation regenerated.

GICC consulted with CMBA Architects and Chief Construction to design a building to meet their needs. This spring, the Central Catholic Development Foundation conducted a planning study to test the appetite of the GICC community and learn if the financial support exists for such a major undertaking.

“We couldn’t be happier with the results of the planning study, “said Jolene Wojcik, Central Catholic Development Foundation Director. “Our supporters are eager and willing to see this project come to fruition. The wonderful support they’ve offered for so many years, and continue to provide, is truly a blessing for GICC and its students.”

With approval from the diocese secured, GICC officials now turn their attention to the preparation phase of a five-year capital campaign to raise the funding necessary to construct the building and return Catholic elementary school education to Grand Island for the first time in 50 years.

Grand Island Central Catholic currently serves 6th-12th graders, and is a private, faith-based school committed to excellence in academic achievement, Christian values formation, athletics, fine arts, and community service.

Above all, GICC said it is dedicated to producing well-rounded individuals who will become the strong community leaders of tomorrow.

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