After a lot of work, a lot of waiting and a lot of prayer, school leaders said, Vancouver’s Seton Catholic College Preparatory High School began building its new home on Saturday.
A blessing and groundbreaking ceremony at the site marked a major milestone for the school that has operated in a leased office building since it opened in 2009.
“It is awesome to be here today,” said Ed Little, Seton Catholic’s founding president and current principal. “This has been a long time coming.”
The new 12-acre site, at Northeast 89th Street and 64th Avenue in Vancouver, will offer much more space than the school’s current location on Northeast 112th Avenue. The first phase of the new campus includes a two-story, 35,000-square-foot school building and a 9,000-square-foot gymnasium.
School officials say the new facility will serve 250 to 300 students when the first phase is complete. Seton Catholic’s current enrollment is 164, according to the school — and it’s bursting at the seams.
“Seton Catholic is a really special place, and this new campus is going to mean a lot,” said Tricia Roscoe president at Seton Catholic.
The new building is scheduled to open in September 2016, in time for next school year. A later phase will eventually add more space, and athletic fields are also planned.
At Saturday’s ceremony, a large crowd gathered to celebrate the importance of the school that leaders and students said plays a crucial role in the community. Seton Catholic is the only private Catholic high school in Clark County.
J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, blessed the new site as part of the gathering. The day was a result of faith and God’s work, which will continue as the school grows and its students grow, he said.
“We’re going to break ground today, but more importantly, we’re going to be planting seeds,” Sartain said.
This year’s seniors won’t attend Seton Catholic in the new building. But they’re proud of the legacy that will carry forward next year and beyond, said Anais Urias, a Seton Catholic senior and student body president.
The site appears ready for construction, with preparation work already underway and heavy equipment in place. Sartain noted that for now, some might have trouble finding the address. He was told the Seton Catholic site is across the street from Costco, he said.
“In a couple years,” Sartain said, “they’ll be saying Costco is across the street from (Seton Catholic) High School.”