East Catholic Launches Ambitious Building Campaign

East Catholic High School plans largest capital campaign in school history

East Catholic High School officials have announced a $6 million capital campaign, the largest in the Manchester school's 53-year history.

The main component of the plan, which has been talked about and been in development since 2008, is the construction of a new math, science and technology wing. It would be the first time the school has ever added new academic space to the original building.

"This is the first significant addition of academic space that the school has had," said Jay Hartling, East Catholic's principal and chief administrator for the past four years. "We're adding classroom space. This will be a whole new academic wing."

Hartling said the plan is for construction to start in the spring or summer. The finished project will give East Catholic 14,000 square feet of new classrooms spread across two floors. That adds up to six academic classrooms, a new technology lab and five multiple-use science labs.

Paul Hammer, the science department chairman, said the new wing will give his teachers and students more opportunity to keep up their successful work.

"One of the phrases that's out there is continuous improvement," said Hammer, who has worked at the school for 16 years. "The idea is that you have something and there's always ways to make it better. We are looking for the new facilities to build on something we've got going fairly well."

Hartling said the upgrade in technology can help support the kinds of classes, such as forensics and biochemistry, that East Catholic offers in the science department.

"It gives the teachers and the students additional tools to explore the science disciplines through labs and hands-on experiences," he said.

Hammer said he's been told that he'll be consulted when it comes to what's going to be in the science classrooms and labs.

"We'll have some input for that," Hammer said. "It's exciting from that standpoint to look at something new. What we're looking at is to have some more usable space. We're looking at being able to do more, better."

When construction is complete, which Hartling said would be about eight to 10 months after the project breaks ground, the fine arts department will move into the science department's current space, which will be reconfigured for proper use.

"We're building out our science program, but at the same time building up our fine arts space," Hartling said. "[Fine arts] definitely needs more."

Hartling notes that when the school was founded there was only a choir. Now there are 14 instrumental and vocal performing groups.

The athletic department will also benefit. The final phase of the plan is a new multipurpose track and athletic field.

"This campaign is touching on every aspect of the East Catholic experience for our students," Hartling said.

The school has raised $4.2 million from more than 50 private donors during a quiet fundraising period. Hartling said it is now the time to go public and reach out for more help to complete the project. He said East Catholic's families and alumni have been very generous to make this possible.

"The community is incredibly supportive and like a family," Hartling said. "We're all kind of working together to make this a reality for East Catholic."

Hartling also said this project won't cause East Catholic's tuition to increase. The tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year is $11,700.

"East Catholic is a school that is committed to being accessible to families," Hartling said. "We work really hard to keep our tuition as low as possible."

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