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Groundbreaking on new wing at Catholic High School

Knoxville Catholic High School broke ground April 20 on a 19,000-square foot academic wing expansion that will allow the school to serve an additional 200 students.

The wing, due for completion in December 2007, will include ten new classrooms, a guidance suite and parking.

The Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., Bishop of Knoxville, and Sherry Morgan, superint-endent of Diocesan Schools, joined clergy, school officials and KCHS student council and class officers at the ceremony.

Kurtz said he saw the need for additional facilities as a reflection of Knoxville’s growing Catholic community.

“Knoxville Catholic High School is integral to the mission of the Church and the need to expand is a sign of growth and blessing,” Kurtz said.

Since relocating from Magnolia Avenue to Fox Lonas Road in 2000, KCHS enrollment has grown more than 60 percent. The current facility was intended to serve 600 students and enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year was 602 students. This year KCHS will graduate 129 seniors and have over 190 applicants for next school year.

“For the first time in our school’s history, K-C-H-S is faced with turning away a significant number of Catholic students,” KCHS principal Dickie Sompayrac said. “This expansion is critical because it is not simply about making our school bigger, it is about growing the Catholic Church.”

This new academic wing is part of the $4 million “Living our Mission through Growth Campaign” that includes the endowment growth and additional athletic facilities. To date, KCHS has raised $2.7 million, enough to receive approval from the Diocese to begin construction, but needs another $1.3 million to reach the campaign goal.

“We have been blessed with generous support from parents, alumni and friends, and I have faith that our Catholic community will see us through to the finish line,” Sompayrac said.


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