Picture this. In 1979-80 the new two-story ICS building opened and housed 1st through 8th grades. ICS had its own principal's office. Getting to Monroe from ICS meant walking through the old barracks buildings (known as the “middle section”) which connected ICS and Monroe. Monroe had its own principal’s office and entry. This middle section housed the music room, HIPOW office, accounting office, Director of Schools office, a classroom and, in 1980-81, ICS’s first kindergarten class.
In 1993-94, junior high classes were moved to the decrepit middle section. These buildings were old. The floors spongy with interesting mushrooms growing in the dirt crawl spaces and icicles forming along walls and windows in the winter. A favorite memory is the summer day when a toilet, in the then HIPOW office, fell off the wall creating quite a fountain of water.
In 1997, members of Monroe Foundation, Inc. and school administration met with Bishop Kaniecki to discuss the possibility of replacing the “middle section.” Bishop was pretty uncertain about this at first as finances were tight. He changed his mind, though, after a visit to his high school alma mater, Detroit Jesuit, which had been recently remodeled and had a chapel front and center. Bishop Kaniecki had a dream; he wanted a Chapel large enough to seat the students and faculty from both ICS and Monroe and he wanted it to be the focal point of the schools.
The planning began. Monroe Foundation, Inc. and Fr. McGuigan, SJ needed to focus on annual fund-raising projects including HIPOW. In 1997, Bishop Kaniecki hired Jason Hodges, an ’89 alum, to be the development director. He and I were to work with consultant Jim Burns to begin formulating the case statement for raising the funds necessary for the addition, about $4 million. Terry Kelly ’66 and Jim Haselberger were co-chairs of the fund-raising committee. Fr. McGuigan, SJ and Honorable Frank and Nancy Murkowski were honorary chairs. Charles Bettisworth and Company (today called Bettisworth North) was hired as the architectural firm and GHEMM Company was the general contractor.
The “courtyard” – an open space enclosed by the east-west wing of Monroe, the gym hallway, the maintenance hallway and the old middle section – would become part of the new building. There would be one main entry, one central office for both ICS and Monroe, a music room, Chapel, multi-purpose room, commons area, and a library-media center. Needless to say, 1997-98 and 1998-99 were busy years.
The 7,850 generous donors giving $25 to $100,000 made this addition possible.
Next week's email will be the final in my trip down memory lane. Look for more information about the years ending in nine.
Written by Nancy Cook Hanson for the Spring Matching Fundraiser.