WOOSTER – Thanks to donations from families and community members, St. Mary’s School updated its activity center and lobby entry with new floors, freshly painted walls, and several other attributes over the past year.
Principal Laura Marvin said the school started renovating before the pandemic hit because the school started hosting events in the space.
“The first thing we thought of was chairs, folding chairs, for our events, so they all matched,” Marvin said. “And then just a small group of people started spearheading, fundraising for it and so every fundraiser we had went to the center of activity.”
When spring 2020 arrived and students were sent home due to COVID, Marvin said that opened things up and the school was able to do even more renovations. These renovations included adding a new sound and light system along with painting the entire space.
Reasons behind the renovations
The idea to update the activity center came from Bret Defibaugh who was the school’s basketball coach before his death, Marvin said. Defibaugh and his son, who helped his coach, wanted a basketball court in the gymnasium, so the school tried to make it happen.
“Because we had mass here every Sunday and our school masses on Wednesdays, people came and they could see (the renovations) and so I think they kept giving money,” said Marvin. “And we have enough to put the floor in and get the tables (from the dining room).”
Thanks to donations, new wood flooring was installed to replace the cracked cement floor and new dining tables were purchased. Between an online giving program, called “WeGiveCatholic,” and in-person donations from people, Marvin said the school raised about $200,000 for the entire project.
Lasting effects of changes
Marvin said she was happy that the school was finally able to renovate the space as it is not only used very often by the school but also by the community for events like weekly church services and sales.
“I know the teachers and the students are really excited, they were excited about the new paint job,” Marvin said. “I think with the community it’s going to be used more.”
Along with waiting for tiles to come into the lobby bathrooms, Marvin said most of the renovations have been completed and she hopes it will all be done when teachers start returning on August 11.
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