St. Henry District High School (SHDHS) is proud to announce a major campus expansion. “After months of planning, involving hundreds of school stakeholders, we are excited to publicly announce our first major building campaign in more than 20 years; the Building on Excellence, Guided by Faith capital campaign,” said Principal David M. Otte. SHDHS has received approval from the Diocese of Covington to move forward with Phase I of this campaign, a $6 million expansion project.
Growth in Northern Kentucky, specifically Boone County, is well-documented and Mr. Otte states that the school is proactively embracing this growth. The school is experiencing record enrollment on the heels of being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, witnessing an 18% growth since 2012.
SHDHS, the largest co-educational high school in the Diocese of Covington, prides itself on being a leader in Catholic Education in Northern Kentucky. “Catholic education has been a valuable asset in the Diocese of Covington for over 160 years, and for over 80 years St. Henry District High School has been a big part of that,“ said the Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, DD, Bishop of Covington. “St. Henry prepares our young people for the world and helps to evangelize and make the world, our community, and the church a stronger place.”
The $6 million dollar project includes a new addition that will nearly double the size of the existing campus. It also calls for upgrading existing space to serve an enhanced STEM curriculum.
SHDHS likes to brag about their many graduates that have gone on to enjoy highly successful STEM careers. “We’ve had numerous graduates build successful careers as nurses, physicians, computer programmers, engineers, and the like on the strong classroom-based STEM education they received at SHDHS,” says Mr. Otte. “Now, with this expansion, we’ll be able to add a broader array of hands-on opportunities to an already outstanding STEM curriculum.” The school’s nationally recognized robotics program, CruBotics, is just one of many programs expected to benefit from the planned STEM lab space.
The centerpiece of the expansion, however, is a premier fine arts facility that will be highlighted by a 650+ seat multipurpose auditorium to serve as the new home for the SHDHS Drama Department. The space will also be used for school assemblies, lectures, and community gatherings. The auditorium will be the newest and largest auditorium in the diocese.
In addition to the auditorium, classrooms will be built to better serve the school’s established Fine Arts department, which includes band, visual arts, chorus, chamber choir, and drama. “Our Fine Arts department engages more students each day than any other extra-curricular activity on campus,” says Mr. Otte. “Nearly three out of every four students strengthen the creative halves of their brains through involvement in the fine arts. We’re excited to provide a space that matches the creativity and dedication of existing students, as well as future students.”
The planning phase of this campaign, which began in 2014, took a holistic look at the school’s needs. After speaking with hundreds of constituents, the school developed a multi-phase master plan that originally included a new auxiliary gymnasium for the school’s 24 athletic teams. That need, however, was addressed when the school took over operations of the St. Henry Athletic Complex in Florence, located at the former site of Sports of All Sorts behind Boone County High School. This newly updated complex houses three full basketball courts, four volleyball courts, and two indoor batting cages.
“Undertaking any planning project of this magnitude requires many like-minded people who understand both where SHDHS has been and where it wants to go,” says Mr. Otte. “Finding the best people to lead this effort was a challenge given the large number of well-qualified supporters and their deep ties to SHDHS.”
Boone and Karen Riegler accepted the challenge of chairing the Building on Excellence, Guided by Faith campaign. When asked why, they said, “Like so many alumni and parents, we have a special place in our hearts for St. Henry District High School. We feel that investing in St. Henry is investing in the future of our children and the future of our faith.” Mr. Riegler is a 1970 graduate of St. Henry, and two of the Riegler’s children graduated from SHDHS. Their oldest granddaughter graduated from SHDHS just last year and a second granddaughter is a current freshman at the school.
In addition to the Rieglers, active steering committee members include SHDHS Pastoral Administrator Fr. Gregory Bach; Principal David M. Otte; Advancement Director Beckie D. Middendorf; alumni, past parent, and current grandparent Mike Arthur; alumni and past parent Bob Nields; alumni and current parent Dan Tobergte; current parent Mike Esselman; current parent Stephanie Renaker-Jansen; current parent Beth Sweeney; and past parent Don Meihaus.
The high school, which is situated on 33 acres just off of I-75 in Northern Kentucky, currently serves nearly 560 students from 20 different grade schools. The school’s enrollment includes students from Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Grant, Pendleton, and Gallatin Counties in Northern Kentucky and Dearborn County in Indiana.
The committee’s dedication over the past year and a half has helped secure approximately $5.2 million towards the initial $6 million goal. They are currently working to raise additional funds in time for a spring 2018 ground breaking.
For more information on the Building on Excellence, Guided by Faith campaign, and how you can invest in the future of SHDHS, please click here or contact SHDHS Advancement Director Beckie D. Middendorf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.525.5848.