By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — Regina is moving right along on its $6 million capital campaign to expand and improve its facilities.
Regina completed its “Phase 0” projects during 2017. The gym roof was replaced, the front parking lot was expanded and completed, and an additional entrance and exit were constructed off First Avenue. Upgraded high school locker rooms include new lockers, flooring, fixtures, showers and toilets, as well as secured entrance and exit points which aim to eliminate unwanted traffic in those areas. Campaign materials noted that the locker rooms had not been updated since the school was built in 1957.
This year promises to be a busy one, as well, as Regina moves on to “Phase 1.” While original campaign plans included a replacement of the weight room and wrestling room, “plans changed a bit, for the better,” said Jason Dumont, who chairs Regina Board of Education’s buildings and grounds committee. A donor provided a large donation to build an indoor hitting facility for baseball and softball programs. Campaign planners realized that it would be cheaper to put the weight room and wrestling room in this building instead of building the weight room and wrestling room into the existing school, he said. The new athletic facility is set to open in May.
The savings involved with this part of the campaign, and the freed-up space in the school, has allowed for substantial savings in the other part of the 2018 plan — the new education wing. Dumont said, “Because of these savings, and by freeing up space in our school, we were able to find substantial savings in our new education wing design and may be able to move forward faster with all phases.” Specifics will be worked out in the coming months.
The education wing will expand the Early Childhood Center with modern facilities. The existing space can accommodate 80 students and will be expanded into surrounding classroom space to accommodate 125 students. A new wing, which will contain classrooms and a science lab, will be built to replace those classrooms lost in the expansion.
The board hopes that the increased capacity will help boost overall enrollment moving forward. Currently, Regina has a waiting list for the pre-kindergarten program, even as enrollment has dropped in grades K-12 over the past few years. Data suggests that eight of every 10 pre-kindergarten graduates will become full-time Regina Elementary students.
Dumont said Regina is in the process of finalizing the education wing drawing and sending it out for bid. “After that we will go back to the diocese for approval and hopefully be able to move forward this summer.”
Supporters have donated $4.85 million so far towards the overall campaign goal, said Kecia Boysen, executive director of the Regina Foundation. “The community and businesses have provided generous support throughout the campaign and continue to do so. We are fortunate to have a broad base of support.”
Feeder parishes for Regina Catholic Education Center are St. Mary, St. Wenceslaus and St. Patrick in Iowa City and St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville.