In recent years, Corpus Christi Catholic School has played a game of classroom Tetris.
Students have kept coming — enrollment is up 40 percent from 2007 — and administrators have kept shifting students and employees to best use the school’s limited space.
But now, to put it simply, the school has run out of room.
“Early on, we were given a gift of lots of space, and little by little the space has gotten filled up by kiddos,” the Rev. Mick Mulvany said.
Soon the school and its 328 students, grades preschool through eighth, will have some relief.
This relief comes via a $5 million capital campaign to build four classrooms, administrative offices, a cafeteria, a music room and a multimedia technology center. The two-story addition will cost $3.4 million, raise enrollment capacity to 420 students and add 18,000 square feet to the 69,000-square-foot Corpus Christi parish campus at 6001 Bob Billings Parkway. The other $1.6 million of the campaign will go toward paying the debt on the existing school building.
Since April 8, the 1,210 families in the parish have raised $3.5 million.
“The parish has been very gracious and generous about making sure the kids get a faith-based education,” Mulvany said.
Twelve years ago, the school started out with 24 kindergarten students. Each year the school added a grade, and six years ago the parish embarked on a $4 million capital campaign to add a gymnasium and kitchen to accommodate the growing number students.
“When you had older kids and they were moving to middle school, the gym became imperative,” Mulvany said.
Principal Mary Mattern said that much of the school’s growth has come from adding grades each year, but parish growth and transfers of students who previously attended public schools have also bolstered enrollment numbers.
As the school has grown, Mulvany said, the school and parish’s goal has remained the same.
“It’s a story of people who firmly believe in academic excellence but also being able to teach our kids a deep faith,” he said. “As Mrs. Mattern always says, ‘Our goal is to get kids to heaven.’”
Mulvany hopes construction will begin next year and be completed by the 2014 school year.