Chaminade Julienne announces $20 million growth campaign
By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph
DAYTON — If Catholic Schools Week is supposed to be a chance for Catholic schools to shine, Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton spared no effort Thursday night. With alumni, staff, media and members of the school’s founding orders in attendance, the school announced a $20 million campaign designed to benefit the school in various ways.
Dubbed “Leading in Faith Today” (LIFT), the school also announced the initiative has raised $13.4 million already.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo gallery of artist renditions of the proposed improvements can be viewed below.
LIFT began with planning in 2010 and a quiet phase three years ago. The program has already delivered results. The 2011 addition of the Eagle Tennis Center, the 2013 creation of the CJ STEMM Center and recent renovations to Mary, Our Lady of Victory gymnasium were all parts of LIFT.
The program announcing LIFT featured a reception, video presentations, keynote speaker and various performances by CJ students.
Going forward, LIFT funds will go towards school-wide air conditioning to allow year-round use of the facilities, renovation of the cafeteria into a more friendly gathering space, renovation of the school’s 745-seat auditorium and addition of rehearsal space for the growing arts program, further development of an on campus athletic field and the addition of gateways and landmarks to clearly mark the bounds of Chaminade Julienne’s campus.
LIFT will also benefit tuition assistance, curriculum, teacher development and more.
“LIFT continues our recent momentum at CJ, leading us to always ask ‘What’s next’ for our students and community,” said Dan Meixner, CJ president. “Our ability to celebrate this milestone, and publicly share the full scope of our priorities, is due to the generosity of more than 70 families, alumni, friends, mission partners and seven foundations who are truly Leading In Faith Today. They believe in what we are accomplishing for students and their leadership commitment has given us an outstanding start to this effort.”
Chaminade Julienne breaks LIFT down into three parts; Elevate, Propel and Engage.
Elevate is the largest of the initiative, seeking $10 million for capital improvements. This part of LIFT includes the completes STEMM Center, gym and tennis center projects. The remaining work includes the school-wide air conditioning, classroom renovation, auditorium and rehearsal space, the Blue-Green field and campus gateways.
The gateways will unify the campus, improve the look of the area around the school and highlight Chaminade Julienne’s Catholic identity.
“What we want to try and do is identify when you drive down Ludlow Street, or Washington or Franklin, that you’re driving on CJ’s campus,” Meixner said. “We believe that we’re a centerpiece and a strong Catholic presence in the center city by the way our kids act and the kind of school that we are, but we haven’t created a whole lot of symbols around that. That’s what the outdoor campus gateway projects will allow us to do.”
Propel, seeking $4 million, benefits curriculum and student achievement, teacher development, tuition assistance and ministry. Programs like Project Lead the Way and City Connects as well as CJ’s Senior Capstone courses are evidence of LIFT at work.
More than 70 percent of Chaminade Julienne students already receive some level of financial aid, but LIFT aims to close the gap between the needs and available resources in that area.
Engage, seeking $6 million over five years, will benefit the school’s annual fund. This includes teacher salaries, maintenance, student activities and more.
All the improvements scheduled as part of LIFT will take place at the same location where CJ students have been studying and learning for more than 125 years. Meixner said remembering their history and utilizing the existing space was an “intentional decision.”
“We looked at would it be less expensive or more feasible to build a new building,” Meixner said. “And, turns out it is not, even with a building of this age. Plus, this is home. The first school building was right here on the corner of Franklin and Ludlow. While this isn’t the original building, this is home. If we could take this existing space and refit it to meet the needs of today’s teachers and today’s students, we felt like that was our best opportunity.”
One of 23 Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Chaminade Julienne is owned and sponsored by the Marianists and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The school was founded in 1850 and currently serves 660 students.