ICS breaks ground on new school - Republic-Times | News

ICS breaks ground on new school

By on June 28, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Father Carl Scherrer raises his arms Saturday as he blesses the site of the new Immaculate Conception Catholic Education and Activity Center adjacent to the church on Palmer Road in Columbia. (Andrea Saathoff photos)

Exactly six years to the day after breaking ground for a new church on Palmer Road in Columbia, Immaculate Conception Parish reached another milestone Saturday when Father Carl Scherrer blessed the site of the groundbreaking of the new ICS Catholic Education and Activity Center.

“Tonight we’re not here to build a bigger barn for all our wealth and earthly holdings,” ICS principal Mike Kish said. “We are building a synagogue for our temple where we can talk and learn about our God, and work and pray and play together within the community of our faith.

“I would like to say thanks for every contribution and time, talent and treasure to this holy work,” Kish said.

The facility, which will be adjacent to the church, is anticipated to be ready for students in January 2019.

“The fact that this Catholic education center is attached to our new church has great symbolic value,” said Father Carl Scherrer. “Because each one of us, young and old alike, began our faith journey in the waters of baptism in a church.

“This building will be an extension of what happens in this church every Sunday.”

The groundbreaking itself included a group of ceremonial representatives including Scherrer, Kish, representatives of Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, and local leaders. The next group was of the Building the Church of the Future Committee.

Finally, all parishioners and guests in attendance were encouraged to pick up a shovel and break ground themselves.

Building committee chair Mike Whelan heaped praise upon Scherrer and Kish for their vision and hard work to make the concept of the education and activity center a reality.

“We see the evidence of God’s work in the courage and fortitude of two leaders, who gave all of us the courage to tackle big projects like this. Specifically, I’m talking about Father Carl and ‘Mr. ICS,’ Mike Kish.”

Whelan also thanked the many volunteers who served on the committees responsible for the design, fundraising and financing of the project.

Pictured, Sophie Conrad, in front, and in back, from left, Caitlyn Swartz, Isabella Frasure and Katie Grawitch, sing “I Rejoiced” at the ICS groundbreaking ceremony Saturday.

“Over the course of last fall we had over 200 parishioners working on this project,” Whelan said.

People continue to come forward and volunteer skills and expertise for such project tasks as excavation of the site, information technology, security and other elements of the infrastructure, Whelan added.

Those at the groundbreaking were able to walk a path around what will be the perimeter of the school building, and were treated to refreshments following the ceremony by the Knights of Columbus.

Immaculate Conception Parish was founded in 1846. Immaculate Conception School was founded in 1853. The current ICS building on Main Street was built in 1921.

The new building will be 60,000 square feet and able to educate 550 students. It will have dedicated spaces for athletics, music, art and drama. It will include a Little Chapel for Sunday School, and provide plenty of space for needs that develop over time. The facility will cost $11.6 million to complete.

“We are at the beginning, not at the end,” Whelan told those in attendance. “So please, step forward and volunteer. Be ready for the move-in over Christmas holidays of 2018. In 11 days we’re going to move ICS. Have any of you seen Mike Kish’s office? Do you think we’re going to be able to move in 11 days? Yes, we are, thanks to you.”

For more information on the Immaculate Conception Catholic Education and Activity Center, call 281-5353.

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Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email: andrea@republictimes.net