St. Francis Xavier Parish and School celebrated the dedication of the third and final phase of the new school building with a special Blessing of the Buildings on Dec. 6.
The Most Reverend Thomas Olmsted, Bishop, Diocese of Phoenix, blessed each room in the new wing following a commemoration ceremony led by Kim Cavnar, St. Francis Xavier School principal, and Father Daniel J. Sullivan, S.J. St. Francis Xavier pastor.
Sullivan gave particular recognition to Phoenix-based D.L. Withers Construction for completing the new school on time and on budget.
The fundraising effort thus far for the new school has brought in $13 million of the $16 million price tag. The Etched in Our Hearts Capital Campaign began in 2005 with members of the school community, church community, parents, grandparents and alumni parents.
“The economic collapse right at the start of our capital campaign forced us to change our focus from large foundations to individuals,” Sullivan explained. “The community has been extremely generous, and we’re so grateful for what has already been contributed. But we still have $3 million to go.”
St. Francis Xavier School and Faith Education Center has been completed in three phases. Phase A was completed in December 2010 and is home to the preschool, kindergarten, middle school, gym and cafeteria. Phase B was completed in April of 2011 and is now home to grades 1-5, the atrium and library.
Phase C, completed in October, is home to the School and Religious Education Administration, nurse’s office, art room, Spanish room, three additional classrooms, and the E.L. Wiegand Music Center.
The music center was funded by a $134,116.44 grant from the E. L. Wiegand Foundation. The grant has allowed the music department to purchase a new grand piano, Apple iPad Learning Lab, with iPad devices to be used in the classroom, along with a complete set of risers to be used for performances.
With this grant, St. Francis Xavier will be able to expand the school’s music center beyond the day school program. The center also will be used for the parish’s religious education and adult education church programs. St. Francis will be able to impact more than 600 youth and 250 adults annually who may not have access to a technology-related arts program or a music curriculum.
In conjunction with the dedication ceremony, St. Francis Xavier School also hosted its annual Grandparents Day on Dec. 6. Grandparents went to mass at 9 a.m. with their grandchildren from school, then attended the dedication ceremony, and finally got to tour the new wing and visit their grandchildren’s classrooms.
School nurse Marie Heggestad was particularly pleased to show off her new nurse’s office, having worked for several years previously out of a converted storage closet. Her new office boasts a handicap-accessible restroom, two beds with privacy curtains, a wheelchair, plenty of storage, and a rear door to allow parents easy access from a back parking lot. “I feel like Christmas came early for me,” she said with a laugh.
St. Francis Xavier School is a Jesuit Elementary School, serving children in preschool through eighth grade, located at 4715 N. Central Ave. in North Central Phoenix.