Cramped quarters, insufficient classroom space and an outdated gym have led Divine Savior Holy Angels High School to launch a $19.5 million Building on our Faith campaign, announced March 1 at the school’s benefit auction.

The Building on Our Faith campaign at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School includes the removal of the school’s current gym and the construction of a new three-station gymnasium and expanded fitness facilities. The new facility will provide 32,000 square feet dedicated to health and wellness of students. (Architectural renderings courtesy DSHA)The campaign – which will result in programming overhauls and massive renovations to the school’s physical space – has been in “the quiet phase” of fundraising for two years, raising $13.5 million in donations from a host of alumni families with deep connections to the school.

The May 1 groundbreaking will begin approximately 15 months of construction on the DSHA campus on North 100th Street. Facility upgrades, designed by Eppstein Uhen Architects, include a chapel, gymnasium, classrooms and campus ministry.

New gym, new classes

The Building on Our Faith campaign has earmarked $6.75 million for a three-station, 32,000 square-foot gymnasium and the Sarah M. Hegarty Fitness Center, the latter named for a DSHA student who died during her senior year.

“Our gym is just not working for us anymore. It’s obsolete,” said Anne Marie Duveneck, vice president of development and a DSHA graduate. “Yes, we can win games there and we can have Phy Ed class, but we can’t go any further. It’s too far; it’s too old.”

The gym was built in the 1950s, and its age, said Quesnell, is holding the school back.

“What we call the fitness center – if you look at the original plans, it’s noted as the roller skate storage room,” he said. “Just think back to where girls’ athletics was in the late ’50s. Where we are some 55 years later, the building is just out of date and physically dilapidated.”

Athletic director Peggy Seegers-Braun said the additional space will allow DSHA to run a second freshman volleyball and basketball team.

“Currently we have over 40 girls in each sport try out for volleyball and basketball each year, and this will allow us to keep more girls in each program,” she said.

During construction, physical education classes will run two to three times per week. In the absence of a gym, instructors will use the arena theater and relocated weight room in the basement, and hold class outdoors when possible.

The new facilities will also lead to a “restructuring” of the physical education program, said Angie Hutchinson, department chair.

Under the new model, all grade levels will be able to develop an “individualized fitness plan” over their four The Mother of Our Savior Chapel, as pictured in this architectural rendering, will reclaim the space of the former chapel that now houses Divine Savior Holy Angels’ music programs. Offices for the rapidly growing campus ministry program will surround the chapel. years at DSHA, while taking advantage of the fitness center to take classes that include yoga and pilates.

Construction of the fitness center is funded by a $500,000 gift from the Majerus Foundation and is named for Sarah Hegarty, a starting guard on DSHA’s only state championship basketball team in 1996. Hegarty died in 1998 after a two-year illness. Basketball coach Rick Majerus, who died in 2012, was a friend of Hegarty’s father, and remembered DSHA in his will.

“Because he didn’t want anything named after him, the Majerus Foundation thought it would be appropriate to name the fitness center after Sarah,” said Seegers-Braun.

Space for campus ministry

“As a Catholic school, we’ve got an incredibly vibrant campus ministry program and faith formation program at DSHA,” said Quesnell. Since the department doesn’t have its own offices, “we’ve done this without a proper place for campus ministry to operate.”

There are 237 students involved in leadership roles in the campus ministry program, said program director Kathleen Cullen. And with three campus ministers, “we are bursting at the seams,” she said.

“The new space allows for even more students to have a leadership role within campus ministry.”
DSHA does not have its own chapel, but utilizes the chapel in the community house of the Sisters of the Divine Savior.

“Our girls can’t just wander in there and the schedule doesn’t always permit for us to use it,” said Quesnell.

The Mother of Our Savior Chapel will be built in the footprint of the building’s original chapel, a space that houses the music program, with the campus ministry center built around it. The chapel will be funded by a $1 million donation from Standard Process, Inc. in honor of former vice president Sylvia DuBois, a 1948 Holy Angels graduate, who died in 2013.

“Catholic education was something that was close to my grandmother’s heart,” said Sylvia’s granddaughter, Julia DuBois, a senior at DSHA. “I believe she wanted to give the next generation of girls at DSHA an opportunity to grow in faith and the chapel would provide them with a physical space to do that.”
RJ Fridl Commons to include cafe.

The RJ Fridl Commons will connect the gym to the existing Quad and Fridl Family Foyer. It will be “a gathering space for the gym and also space for us to tell the history of the school,” said Quesnell.

“Functionally, it will be regularly used as our study hall. Right now, if you talk to any of our students, they despise the study hall arrangement because it’s in the basement of the original building and it’s very hot.”

Florence and Richard Fridl, Duveneck’s parents, donated $1 million to help fund the commons. Richard died in August 2013. Florence, Duveneck and her three sisters all attended DSHA, and her niece is a junior now.

“My mom and dad decided they wanted to contribute in a big way to the campaign,” said Duveneck. “They have both been a great, great friend of this school. He went to Marquette but he never forgot where his wife and his daughters went.”

She envisions the commons as being “a wonderful space with a lot of buzz and activity, after games, during study hall, with an alumni lounge that highlights the history of the school. I’m very excited that my dad will always be remembered.”

The students are excited, too. The Monday after the benefit auction, when the renovations were announced to the students, the girls were particularly interested to hear about the DSHA Cafe, which will occupy a corner of the RJ Fridl Commons.

“I said, ‘Oh, there’s going to be the DSHA cafe there,’ and they gasped, thinking it’s going to be a mini-Starbucks,” said Duveneck. “I go, ‘No, it’s not going to be a Starbucks! It’s a concession center!’”

New academic wing includes 6 classrooms

A new music education space will allow the DSHA choir and orchestra to stop playing what Duveneck calls “musical chairs.”

“We really need to bring our music suite up to where it should be. It’s in our old chapel and the choir comes in and they push all the orchestra chairs against the wall so they can do their singing, and then the orchestra comes in and they have to push all the chairs back so they can play,” she said.

Six classrooms will be added to the building.

“We overuse our classrooms and kick teachers out during prep periods because there’s another class going on, so we can really use the additional space,” said Quesnell.

It is unclear whether or not physical expansion of the facilities will result in increased enrollment. DSHA, with 664 students, has had a waiting list for incoming freshmen since 1998.

“We’re at a size that’s pretty good for us,” said Duveneck. “It possibly could translate to a few more girls coming here, but it’s not one of the main driving forces of the project.”

Creating established base of money

By the end of the Building on Our Faith campaign, DSHA hopes to raise $3.5 million for its annual fund, $3 million for its scholarship endowment fund and $500,000 for its faculty professional development endowment.

The annual fund and scholarship endowments are “critically important” to DSHA’s mission as a Catholic school, said Duveneck. Incoming freshmen are recruited from more than 100 schools in the Milwaukee area, and DSHA prides itself on socioeconomic diversity within its student body – what Duveneck calls “the rich fabric of DSHA.”

A million dollars annually goes toward scholarships and financial aid, and the $11,400 individual tuition – based on the 2013-14 school year – covers only 75 percent of the cost to educate each student.

“We need more of these endowed funds so we’ve got an established base of money that will, in perpetuity, give us these kinds of dollars so that they’ll be available for girls that do not have the financial means to attend,” said Duveneck. “It’s very important to us that any girl who wants to come here and be successful here, that the financial need isn’t the reason they can’t come. It’s something we take very seriously.”