By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — Regina Catholic Education Center recently completed construction of a new junior/senior high education wing.
The new one-story education wing features 11,723 square feet of new construction that includes four classrooms and a science lab with flex space for the junior and senior high, built where the old weight room and modular classrooms once stood. The space lends itself to future expansion to the south if ever desired. Other features include a 2,750- square foot lobby/atrium, concession stand, spirit store, athletic trainer’s room, restrooms, trophy cases and an entrance for extra-curricular activities.
Students entered the wing for the first time last week when fall classes resumed. “It was awesome seeing students in the halls,” said Glenn Plummer, junior/senior high principal. “There were many comments about how great the wing looks.”
Construction commenced in September 2019 and finished in July, a month ahead of schedule, officials said in a press release.
A ribbon cutting took place Aug. 23. Regina Provost Father Steve Witt offered a blessing and guests were able to take self-guided tours of the new wing. All guests were required to wear masks and stay six feet apart.
The new lobby area has been helpful as the school works to promote social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The new lobby gives us another large space to use for lunch and classes,” Plummer said.
General contractor Build to Suit, Inc., ISG and Shive Hattery completed the wing. The existing Regina Junior/Senior High School building opened in 1958.
The new wing is a component of the $7.8 million Pride in Our Past, Building Our Future campaign that launched in 2016. The school recently exceeded its campaign goal, said Kecia Boysen, Regina Foundation’s executive director.
To date, other completed projects include:
• Expansion and resurfacing of the front parking lot and resurfacing of the front circle drive. Replacement of lighting in the front parking lot.
• Replacement of original high school gymnasium roof.
• Construction of the new First Avenue entrance drive.
• Renovation of the 60-year-old boys and girls locker rooms.
• Replacement of antiquated bell and intercom system.
• Addition of a new wrestling room and weight room to the Athletic Training Facility.
• Rerouting of storm water retention, which the city required.
The “exciting next step” for Regina will be converting the newly freed-up space in the original structure into an expanded early childhood education center, said Celeste Vincent, principal of Regina Elementary. Currently, pre-kindergarten classrooms are in two separate locations in the school; having all classrooms in the same hallway will allow for more cohesive theming and programming.
Renovation plans are being made. Administrators hope the renovation will lead to increased school enrollment overall, since students who attend preschool at Regina are more likely to attend elementary school at Regina. “It gives exposure to Regina Catholic Education Center as a whole,” Vincent said.
Plummer and Vincent said they are grateful for the support of all the families, individuals and businesses that have made the additions and renovations to Regina possible.