Our Lady Queen of Heaven kicks off fundraiser for campus improvements

By By Ashley Withers / American Press

Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic School kicked off its new Cornerstone Capital Campaign last week in hopes of raising more

than $3 million for campus improvements.

The campaign will fund the construction of a 26,500-square-foot middle school building, renovations to more than 20 classrooms

and the creation of an early childhood center.

“The school has several substantial needs. We needed to create an area for middle school kids only, to be able to put the

sixth, seventh and eighth grade together. The school was built back in the early ’60s, and there is a very strong need to

be able to remodel 20-plus classrooms,” said Frank Wood, co-chairman of the executive committee.

“Also, one of the issues that we’ve always faced is that the campus is divided into two parts. What this does also is it enables

us to move all of the young kids that were across the street over into the main campus. I think that’s huge to be able to

get everybody on the same side of the street.”

The building on the east side of Creole Street that is now used for classrooms for the younger grades will be converted into

a self-contained early childhood center.

“We feel like it’s going to really enhance the neighborhood here and the environment of south Lake Charles,” said Monsignor

James Gaddy, pastor of the school’s namesake church.

Gaddy has pledged one year of his salary to the campaign.

Construction will cost about $3.5 million.

“We’re very blessed that the parish and

the school have been planning for a few years. Between the two we have a

million dollars

to jump-start our campaign. We’re hoping to raise $2.5 million

more,” said Gretchen Jester, a member of the campaign’s executive

committee.

“This construction project will affect two-thirds of our school. It is the biggest project we’ve ever done.”

The campaign has raised $600,000 since

it kicked off a little over a week ago, bringing the total to $1.6

million. OLQH will

host a series of fundraisers throughout the year as a part of the

campaign. Monetary pledges can be spread over five years.

“Our school has provided outstanding Catholic education to our community for 55 years, with generations of alumni using that

education as a cornerstone in their lives. That’s a great legacy,” Gaddy said.

“Now we’re looking to the future, to

continue that legacy. It’s time to prepare the school for the next

generations of students.”

All of the construction will be completed by the start of the 2014-2015 school year. OLQH plans to break ground on the project

in April.

Online: http://olqhs-cornerstone.jimdo.com.