St. Edward CCHS Breaks Ground for Performing Arts
Patricia SzPekowski, Observer Correspondent
April 27, 2023
ELGIN—The good news that St. Edward Central Catholic High School would fulfill a dream of building a new performing arts center has been reverberating with anticipation since 2021. It was announced at that time it would become a reality because of the generosity of its dedicated and loyal alums, brothers Robert Fox and Geoffrey Fox, who left Elgin years ago and have resided in California since the late 1950s.
It is now another step closer as Bishop David Malloy, Geoffrey Fox and numerous stakeholders took part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new Fox Family Performing Arts Center, named in honor of the Robert Fox and Geoffrey Fox families, April 14. 
In attendance were St. Edward’s superintendent/principal Brian Tekampe, Father Robert Blood, assistant principal/spiritual director, staff, students, and alums who gathered with architects, builders, and vendors for the celebration.
At the groundbreaking, Bishop Malloy expressed appreciation to the Fox family for their act of faith and generosity. “This new performing arts center will be beneficial to students where they will be able to use Jesus’ gifts for human excellence in their performances to display interpretations of emotions and the works of others to deepen our souls,” Bishop Malloy said. In addition, he said, he hoped the students would learn the lesson of generosity exhibited by the Fox family, too.
The new state-of-the-art 11,158 square foot performing arts center is being built as an addition to the school. It includes 299 seats and will have a scene shop and women’s and men’s dressing rooms. It is estimated the total cost for the building will be just over $6 million. The Fox family has funded the bulk of the project.
Since the early 1950s, the school’s performance stage has been housed in the school’s gym. The new Fox Family Performing Arts Center will now provide the school with a new location for other events too.
Don Haefliger, former St. Edward’s English and drama teacher for over 45 years, has hoped this day would come since the early 1970s when school officials thought it could happen. “This is an exciting day,” he said. “I am honored to lead the committee of five volunteers, who have an abundance of knowledge and experience in the arts, to offer our input for the new Fox Family Performing Arts Center.”
School leaders, staff, and students can’t wait for the center to open. “We hope to have the permit from the City of Elgin soon and the work will begin immediately,” said Jan Schroeder, business manager at St. Edward. “Completion is anticipated in fourteen months.” 
With all of the events taking place at the school, which is ensconced in a residential neighborhood, Schroeder notes that parking will not be an issue, saying, “We will not have performances scheduled in the theatre to be held the same time as activities in the gymnasium.”
The Robert Fox and Geoffrey Fox families have extended their generosity to St. Edward’s through the improved and upgraded science labs, which are also named in their honor. The school also renovated the Learning Resource Room and has made major improvements to the school’s technology infrastructure. “Recently, the school added Project Lead the Way, a state of the art engineering program,” Schroeder said. 
Enrollment at St. Edward this school year is 220 students, and Schroeder expects it to remain steady. “The long term projection for Catholic school enrollment is very positive. The Fox Family Performing Arts Center will make an impact on the education of students.”
Robert Fox and Geoffrey Fox have strong memories of their education at St. Edward CCHS. Geoffrey took part in the ceremonial symbolic throwing of dirt at the groundbreaking. “I am very happy to be here,” he said. “Everything is very impressive. Due to other family circumstances my brother Robert wasn’t able to attend today. We feel this is a new beginning.”
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