Zion-Benton News

OLH School addition to
replace old mobile units

By Ginny Skweres
Zion-Benton News staff

Our Lady of Humility School is in the midst of building an addition to the school now that they have torn down and removed the mobile classrooms that sat beside the rest of the school. Parents and volunteers had moved the contents of the rooms into the school.
The mobile classrooms originally had been donated by Abbott Labs about 25 years ago and had outlived their usefulness.

In spite of the three weeks of rain delay, Principal Patrick Browne thinks it possible the building will be ready when school opens Aug. 28, which is later than usual. The days will be made up with some shorter breaks during the school year.

The addition will be built on a concrete slab and they are working with the village of Beach Park to obtain the permits as they are needed. "Village hall has been very helpful," Brown said. "It's moving along at a good pace."

The plans call for four new classrooms, plus bathrooms, which will create a 'new middle school' for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. There will be one extra classroom which will allow the eighth-grade math classes to meet in two small groups to give students more individualized math instruction.

One of the rooms will be a science lab fitted with multiple sinks. "It's the first time that we will have a dedicated science lab since 1958," Browne said. He said the school is emphasizing science, technology, engineering and math since those are the skills needed not only in high school, but also in the job market.

Browne said OLH enrollment has been growing for the past seven years and that is exciting since other Catholic school enrollments have been declining. "I think the students know it's exciting to be in a place where things are happening. Other improvements have been made as well. The classrooms have new floors and ceilings, improved bathrooms and an improved lunch room.

Last year the school raised money for improved technology and by next year the school should be completely wireless, creating more flexibility. There will also be one-on-one computer access for the eighth-graders since Catholic high schools expect them to be prepared.

The funding for these improvements came from many individuals Browne said. "It was a lot of people giving a little bit. This helps contribute to the community feel of the improvements."

If the new rooms aren't ready by opening day, the school will manage, Browne said. "If it's not ready we'll have 'art on a cart' and the librarian will visit the classrooms.
Teachers would have to be flexible. We'd have to maximize space." However, he's not worried. The students and teachers will be there and learning will go on.