AURORA—It’s been a year and a half since Aurora Central Catholic High School made its case for campus expansion.
At the time, Father F. William Etheredge, chief administrative officer, had been at the school 14 years.
“We’ve grown rather significantly since I first got here,” he said. Enrollment then was under 350 and now is “very close to 650.”
Since then, the ACC Heritage of Faith campaign has raised more than $2 million toward expanding facilities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the performing arts and athletics. The first phase was what Father Etheredge called the “silent phase” of fundraising.
This year, after Catholic Schools Week, the campaign entered a new phase — the public phase — of fundraising for the remainder of its $4.5 million goal.
On Feb. 2, Aurora area parishes received materials to explain to parishioners the need for their help in raising the remaining capital.
Volunteers spoke at Masses Feb. 4 and 5 and distributed brochures explaining the campaign.
Parishes then asked for donation commitments the weekend of Feb. 11 and 12.
Bishop David Malloy, in a letter to Aurora area priests, recognized the need for the construction.
“This campaign,” he wrote, “will also allow the school to expand the curriculum to best meet the educational needs of current and future students. And of course all of these efforts are in the context of strengthening the Catholic identity of our young people. ... I am glad to express my support for this effort.”
Beginning this weekend, Feb. 18 and 19 and continuing through April 1 and 2, ACC campaign members will update parishioners about the campaign.
Parishioners have been asked to pledge amounts payable over the next three years.
Sample pledge plans — from $300 a year to $1,800 a year — were explained on pledge cards presented at Masses. Families and individuals, however, may pledge any amount, larger or smaller.
Initial funds raised will be dedicated to constructing the proposed STEM center. Later campaigns will raise the remaining money needed for arts and physical education centers.
Plans are for a two-story addition with three large science classroom labs upstairs and five classrooms downstairs for the other three disciplines.
The “STEM Center” will expand off the northeast corner of the building. There are science classes upstairs in that section of the existing structure, and the addition will expand from those rooms, Father Etheredge said.
The second focus is for a field house with team locker rooms and training areas.
The third need — an auditorium — would grow out of the northwest corner of the school.
Info: www.auroracentral.com; under Support click on Heritage of Faith Campaign.