By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
With over $3.4 million in commitments and pledges, Kuemper is closing in on the campaign’s first milestone.
The first tier of the goals is the Celebration Goal, which is $4.63 million. The second tier, the Challenge goal, is $5.38 million. Thirdly, the Jubilation Goal is set at $6.5 million.
“The $6.5 million goal with the extra million plus is to really boost our foundation,” said John Steffes, director of the Kuemper Foundation.
The campaign will address renovation and construction plans as well as strengthening the Kuemper Catholic School Foundation funds for teachers and tuition assistance.
“First and foremost it will help with student learning,” said Vern Henkenius, president of Kuemper Catholic School. “It is going to help with student safety by meeting the diocesan mandates for improving school safety in our buildings. It will improve our facilities.”
Changes at Kuemper
The different goals will address various changes at Kuemper.
The Celebration Goal will address security and technology in all four attendance centers, reconfigure the front entrance to Kuemper High School, establish a Catholic identity in the new high school entrance, improve the current chapel, renovate the science laboratories in Kuemper High School, provide before-school and after-school programming, enhance the Teacher Salary Enhancement Fund, increase the Father Kuemper Tuition Assistance Endowment Fund and construct a new multi-purpose, co-ed Kuemper Fieldhouse for multiple sports.
“That structure (the fieldhouse) is 60 years old and was built for boys,” said Henkenius. “It is not conducive to co-education activities. It doesn’t provide privacy or good restrooms and showers.”
The Challenge Goal of an additional $750,000 will be allocated to construct a new synthetic track for use by middle-school, high school and community members at the Kuemper Fieldhouse complex.
“These are major capital projects,” said Steffes. “We are going to address security measures, especially at the high school. Probably the biggest visible change from this campaign will be the front entrance of the high school.”
Curt Schweers and his wife, Lynette, are one of the four chaircouples for the campaign. They have three children in the Kuemper system – Alison, a freshman; Katie, a sixth grader and Robert, a fourth grader.
“The science labs haven’t been updated since the mid- to late-60s,” he said. “There will be new and better equipment. It is going to take Kuemper into the future. That is why it is called Kuemper Tomorrow.”
Steffes said probably the first item of the campaign to be addressed will be the technology infrastructure this coming summer.
“We have done our homework and really studied that carefully,” he said. “We realized we have a serious upgrade to do for our network at all four centers.”
A silent phase of the campaign began in mid-November. The campaign was announced to the public on March 24, close to Father Kuemper’s birthday. The Steier Group of Omaha is the consultant for the campaign and the Kuemper Foundation is conducting the campaign.
The Kuemper staff showed its dedication by having 100 percent participation in the capital campaign.
“They take ownership and want to emotionally get behind the campaign,” said Henkenius. “They are providing a good example to the parents and the parishes. The people who work here value what they are doing.”
So far, Schweers commented, they are “very happy. We have a lot of good contacts made and have a lot of good contacts we anticipate will contribute.”
“There is still a lot of work to be done,” he added. “We are just starting into the parent phase at this time. We have the alumni phase to go after that.”
With the lead of the Diocese of Sioux City, Kuemper went through a long-range planning process with many subcommittees that met and had a variety of ideas.
“Some of the ideas required a large enough outlay of capital that the general budget of the school could not take care of it,” said Henkenius. “Kuemper has not had a capital campaign since 2004.”
Steffes explained a formal feasibility study was conducted last summer. By November, they were ready for the silent phase of the campaign.
“The campaign has a lot of elements in it. We feel we have done our homework and really carefully gone through the planning process,” he said. “Through the feasibility study, we have gotten a lot of good comments from all the components of the campaign.”
Visit Kuemper’s website at www.kuemper.org for more information and to view the campaign videos.
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