Aug. 22—LIMA — Better late than never. The new elementary addition to St. Gerard Catholic School in Lima has finally been blessed and dedicated, this one year after the first students walked through the doors.
Parish leaders deferred the formal ceremonies until Sunday.
"We've been waiting a long time to bless the building, especially when last year with COVID we couldn't do anything," said Father Mike Sergi. "We planned it. We just couldn't do it. Thank God this year we got to do it on a great Sunday, nice and warm as you can see."
The former pastor of the parish decided that there needed to be an expansion.
"So they put together a campaign that was not only the school building but also our new parish offices and gathering space in the church," Sergi said.
Father Sergi says this expansion will help them well into the future.
"It gives us room to expand our school right now. We have 215 students and so we're able to open up other classes. Also, it can be used for our religious education program so we put it to good use," Sergi said.
Principal Natalie Schoonover says the new building addition was greatly needed.
"It is great to have this wing in here. Prior to that, our enrollment was growing and we had to separate the kids into two different buildings. I felt like we were losing the family feel of our culture. We've always been known as a school with a family feel. It's nice to have everyone together," Schoonover said.
The new addition houses those in pre-k through fourth grade. Those in the fifth through eighth grades are now in the old building.
"The space is very nice, all the generous parishioners have done a great job stepping up and giving us additional rooms and space to educate the young ones with faith and knowledge," said Beth Morman, the school's kindergarten teacher.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.