ALTON – Marquette Catholic High School on Tuesday announced plans for a $1.6 million expansion — a new STEM Center that will be built on the ground floor of the former Millers Mutual Building next door.
“After 91 years in the current block, we are excited to announce the addition of a new STEM Center. It will be in the former Millers Mutual building directly across the street,” said Michael E. Slaughter, principal. “Our plan is to have the STEM Center open by the fall of 2018 for the start of classes.”
The Millers Mutual building is on East Fourth Street, between Easton and Alby streets. Marquette has entered into a long-term lease with the owner of the building, Giant City Properties of Alton, a property management firm owned by attorney John Simmons and several others in Alton.
The new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Center will feature 10,000 square feet of new labs and classrooms, for a 31 percent increase of the current academic space. Three new labs and four classrooms will house Marquette’s robotics, physics, calculus, cybersecurity, biology, chemistry and engineering courses.
“We have raised $657,000 of the $1,600,000 so far, with $943,000 to go. We will conduct a quiet capital campaign to raise the remaining dollars”, said Dave Bartosiak, former MCHS School Board president who now serves in a volunteer capacity as MCHS chief financial officer.
“Ninety-eight percent of our students go on to college and our graduates average $70,000 in college scholarships. Our AP scores are above the state and national averages. The new STEM Center will give our exceptional faculty and students a state of the art facility to match their success” said Sam Mormino, current School Board president.
“The STEM fields are high-demand, high-pay careers. We prepare our students for success in these areas and on annual basis, our graduates go on to become medical doctors, engineers, health professionals, researchers and more. Currently, we have the ability to teach all STEM courses but this facility will allow us to stay current with technology which is ever changing. The facility will enhance our ability to produce leaders in the STEM fields” said Michelle Sands, chair of the Marquette Math Department and AP Calculus Instructor.
“We completed a $3,000,000 Capital Campaign more than five years ago which led to many of the improvements you see today. We are not resting on our laurels and will continue to be forward-leaning in providing the best curriculum and facilities for our students”, said Slaughter.
The property is expected to be renovated “down to the studs,” spokesman Robert Stephan said.
IMPACT Strategies, a Fairview Heights firm, will serving as general contractor for Giant City Properties.
Once completed, Marquette will be able to repurpose some of its existing high school space for fine arts and performing arts, Stephan said.
The work on the Millers Mutual building will take place on the side nearest to the high school. Once completed, the new space will be locked down from the remainder of the building, which houses other tenants.
Ninety-eight percent of Marquette students go on to college and MCHS graduates average more than $70,000 in college scholarships. Marquette provides financial assistance to 54 percent of students and admits students on their ability to succeed, not their financial means. Marquette’s Advanced Placement (AP) scores are above national and state averages and Marquette Catholic students come from more than 25 feeder schools throughout the St. Louis region.
For more information visit www.marquettecatholic.org or to donate to the STEM Center campaign visit www.marquettecatholic.org/stem