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Cristo Rey High School Moves to New Location
Catholic Times • August 24, 2014
Cristo Rey Columbus High School welcomed a class of 122 freshmen to its new location in the former Ohio State School for the Deaf, 400 E. Town St., on Monday, Aug. 4. One week later, the 73 returning sophomores who will be part of the school’s first graduating class in 2017 were greeted by school president Jim Foley and principal Carolyn Thomas.
The school, which combines workplace experience and standard high school classes, opened with 85 students at this time last year in a smaller temporary location. The move to its permanent site, a five-story, century-old building next to the Columbus Metropolitan Library on the eastern edge of downtown, allows for larger class sizes in this and subsequent years.
Foley said future freshman classes should be similar in size to this year’s, with 400 to 500 students attending the school by the fall of 2016. He said the school accepted about 60 percent of the students who applied for this year’s freshman class.
The larger enrollment also resulted in the addition of staff members and business partners. Five of last year’s six teachers returned and seven faculty members (one of them part-time) were added, giving the school a teaching staff of 12. Cristo Rey also has 41 business partners, 25 of them for the first time.
The businesses play a key role in the school’s mission because students, all of whom are from economically disadvantaged families, go to the businesses one day each week to perform entrylevel work, gaining the type of business experience they might not otherwise be able to obtain because of their economic circumstances. Three or four students work as a team at each employer to fill one position. Money the students earn goes to the school to help reduce tuition.
The building is undergoing $18 million in renovations, paid for through tax credits and a loan from the Diocese of Columbus. Work to remodel it began in May 2013, shortly after Cristo Rey purchased it from the library for $1 million, and will continue through the school year.
Foley said the first three floors are complete, with a chapel and science labs on the fourth floor expected to be finished later in the school year. Fourthfloor music and art spaces will be completed by this time in 2015, with the fifth floor to be used for storage.
Other features of the building which the temporary site did not have include an audio-visual system for all classrooms, locker rooms, a complete computer lab, teacher break rooms and work rooms on every floor, a gymnasium, and expanded food service space. Food for the building will continue to be provided by the Maryhaven health services facility.
The school is inviting the public to view the renovations at a fundraising event titled The Garden Party from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. The event will include food, refreshments, dancing, and a chance to view the adjacent Columbus Topiary Park, which features shrubs trimmed to recreate Georges Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. More information on the party and on the school is available at www.cristoreycolumbus.org.