Ever Higher—The Campaign for Sacred Heart Academy Launched

November 8, 2017

The time has come for a new chapter to be added to the history of Sacred Heart Academy. On Monday, November 6, 2017, amidst a crowd of more than two hundred guests, the Academy officially embarked on a capital campaign—Ever Higher—The Campaign for Sacred Heart Academy—to support Phase I of the master plan, approved in 2015 by the school’s board of directors and advisory council.

“The current building, constructed in the 1950s suited the needs of the time and long beyond,” sta ted President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71. “Now we will build a space that will allow us to keep pace with the changing academic climate of the 21st century, and will enhance the sense of community that is central to our mission.” Development of the master plan was spearheaded by Sr. Sheila soon after her installation as the school’s first president in 2010. The plan was an extensive and inclusive process calling on the entire school to think deeply about the future needs of the Academy. “Meetings were held with students, faculty and staff, alumnae, past and present parents, and friends…close to a thousand people in all,” Sr. Sheila notes.

In keeping with the challenges and pace of 21st century learning, the plans for Phase I call for a new school center to be constructed in front of the existing building, connecting the Philip Paolella, Jr. Recreation Center and the original main entrance. The new wing, or school center as it is referred to, will become an educational, social, and cultural center that will also offer improved accessibility of those with physical challenges. The space will include a new student commons that will be a natural gathering spot for students before, after, and between classes and will include a gallery to display student, as well as visiting artist’s, work. “Anyone entering the building will do so on the ground level in full view of the relocated main office. We love having visitors and want them to feel welcome. The new configuration will be a central hub for the school while providing enhanced safety and security,” offered Sr. Sheila.

The president’s office, principal’s office, and offices for admissions and alumnae affairs will be situated near the main office. New conference rooms will provide convenient meeting space for alumnae, academic departments, advisory council and Parent’s Clubs. “The new student center will feature a green roof, also known as a ‘living roof.’ Both functional and attractive, a green roof reduces storm water runoff, lowers cooling costs, and is a visible manifestation of our commitment to stewardship of our Earth,” shared Sr. Sheila.

“This is the right plan at the right time, and as I talk with people about the campaign, I hear again and again how important the school has been in their lives. Now, we all have the opportunity to help secure Sacred Heart’s future,” said Stephen LaPointe P’18, who serves on the Campaign Cabinet.

The new school center is being designed by David Thompson of David Thompson Architects (DTA), a New Haven-based architectural firm with extensive experience serving educational and religious communities throughout the region. “Over the last three years, we have had a chance to meet with virtually all constituent groups in the Sacred Heart family. The message has been remarkably consistent and supportive. There is a deep appreciation for all that Sacred Heart represents, and unusual unanimity on how the experience of being part of the school will be enhanced with the construction of the new school center,” the architect stated.

The new space is 7,500 square feet and has a projected cost of five million dollars. Groundbreaking will take place in summer 2018 with completion in time for the 2019-2020 academic year. “I am thrilled to report, that as of today, thanks to the generosity of many in our community and with funds that were saved and invested, we now have $4,380,000 toward our goal. We are in need of $620,000 to cross the finish line,” Sr. Sheila offered. Those attending the launch party were asked to prayerfully consider joining this effort to ensure that the Academy continues to reach “Ever Higher.”

The Giving Collaborative (TGC), headquartered in East Haven, is serving as the campaign consulting firm. CEO and Principal David Garamella shared that, “it has been a pleasure to work with President Sr. Sheila and Campaign Director Debbie Camner and the many campaign volunteers…and to see firsthand their commitment to Catholic education and the young women they serve.” Additional Campaign Cabinet members include: Alora Coppola ’08, Sallie Vece DeMarsilis ’82, President of the Advisory Council Karen Harris, Francis Lamboley, Esq. and Director of Admissions Elaine Mastagni Lamboley ’60, and Stephen and Nancy LaPointe, P’18.

Join us in continuing the tradition of Excelsior! Please contact Director of Mission Advancement and Campaign Director Debbie Camner, dcamner@sacredhearthamden.org or 203-288-2309, x318, to discuss opportunities for giving or Click here to make your gift today.

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