Mild temps speed up school construction in West Point

Work continues on a new elementary wing at Holy Trinity Catholic School in West Point. Because of mild weather in November and December, the project is about two months ahead of schedule and will likely be complete in early summer.

By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Thanks to mild weather in November and December, construction on the new wing at Holy Trinity Catholic Elementary School in West Point is ahead of schedule.

“We’ve really caught a break with the good weather we’ve had these last couple months,” said Joshua Ragar, director of development for Holy Trinity Catholic Educational Foundation.

The goal was to have the wing ready for the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. At the current pace, officials estimate construction will be completed with two months to spare, around June 1.


Holy Trinity Catholic Schools broke ground for the new wing last March; the east wing was demolished shortly after. Displaced classes temporarily moved to the high school in Fort Madison. The demolition made way for the new construction, which began in the summer. Walls have been up since mid-fall, with work inside ongoing. Currently, contractors are working to get interior walls framed and drywall up, along with electrical and plumbing work.

Previously, students were split between two buildings, with a gymnasium uniting the two. The gym will remain in use. The new facility will unify K-6 students in one building and provide energy-efficient heating and cooling, top-of-the-line security features, bullet-resistance glass for safety and new technology for faculty and students. The learning environment will be safer and more conducive for everyone at the school, Ragar said. The cafeteria, lunch room, concession stand and restrooms will move to the main floor for easier accessibility during school as well as for games, concerts and other extracurricular activities. “All in all, it will be a welcome upgrade for the faculty, staff, students and community,” Ragar said.

Recently, volunteers and contractors have been working hard to get the storm sewer dug and installed on the south side of the building. Interior concrete work was finished in early January. Ragar said one of the biggest challenges was working around some underground cabling during the storm sewer installation, “but it all worked out well and we’re ready to move on.”

Holy Trinity Catholic Schools kicked off the $6 million capital campaign in January 2017. Ragar said the campaign has exceeded its goal. Dennis Menke, volunteer chairperson for the Holy Trinity Catholic Elementary School Project, has said it’s been “a very easy campaign to raise funds for.”

Ragar said, “This is a very exciting time for Catholic education in southeast Iowa. This facility will be top notch with the best in technology, safety and security for our staff and students. It will be a great place to teach and learn for many years to come.”

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