Storms forced Marist’s groundbreaking ceremony on May 14 inside the monastery. Pictured are (from left) Marist Principal Larry Tucker, donors Gerald and Jennifer Beeson, Coordinator of Science Curriculum Carrie Spano, donors John and Laura Potocsnak, Student Council President Kaleb Weisenfluh, Marist President Br. Hank Hammer, and School Board Chair Brian Dolan.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held last month to kick-off the Faith in the Future Campaign to upgrade the current monastery building into a science wing at Marist High School, 4200 W. 115th St., Chicago.
The goal of the campaign is $15 million, including the addition of 10 science labs and an astronomy dome.
Br. Hank Hammer, president of Marist High School, welcomed board members, donors, parents, faculty, alumni, and friends of the school to the event on May 14 and shared how appropriate it is that the monastery (the former residence for the Marist Brothers) will become a science center since the Brothers lived in the science labs when the school was first built in 1963.
The converted building will give the school 20 percent additional learning space including labs dedicated to physics, biology, chemistry, environmental science, anatomy, and forensics. Physics labs will have direct outdoor access for experiments, while the forensics lab will have a protected crime scene and the anatomy lab will have a patient diagnostic area with computerized medical mannequins.
“Health sciences is the second highest area of focus for our graduates in college,” Principal Larry Tucker, Class of 1979, explained. “This science center will give them hands-on learning opportunities that reflect real world situations. Students will have the opportunity for personal research projects as well.”
Carrie Spano, coordinator of curriculum for science, noted that current science classes share lab time. The new wing will put students in labs every day with the flexibility to move from lecture to group work to experimentation seamlessly.
“It’s a game changer for teachers and students,” Spano said.
Spano also noted that the astronomy dome will offer curriculum and learning opportunities that few other high schools can offer.
The long-planned project was spurred to action by major gifts from John and Laura Potocsnak, and Gerald, Class of ’90, and Jennifer Beeson. Their early investments set the wheels in motion to move forward with the campaign that will continue to transform Marist’s campus for the 21st century.
Assuming all fundraising goals are met, the approximately $12 million science center will open for the 2019-20 school year. The additional $3 million set to be raised will go towards the refurbishment of the school’s library, art center, and band room, among other areas. The current labs will also be converted into additional classrooms and student spaces.
For more information on the Faith in the Future Campaign, including online donations and major gifts, visit www.marist.net or call (773) 881-5379.