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Sacred Heart to rebuild its Lower and Middle Schools

Demolition of buildings to begin in June

Founded in the 19th century, Sacred Heart Schools will offer 21st century teaching and learning for its Lower and Middle Schools students in new state-of-the-art buildings to be completed in August 2012.

In June the venerable Atherton institution will begin demolition of its existing Lower and Middle Schools campus to construct four new buildings, which will surround a large green courtyard.

The new campus will be built to LEED-Silver environmental standards, said spokesperson Millie Lee.

The Lower and Middle Schools campus will double in size to 89,000 square feet. There will be more than 25 classrooms, along with science lab rooms. The 23,000-square-foot fine arts center will have seating for 650 people and soundproof rooms for band, chorus, music and drama.

At 6,500 square feet, the new library will triple the size of the existing library, and will be built to "net zero" environmental standards for electric and water, Lee said.

The buildings will feature natural lighting and ventilation, and will use renewable and recycled materials and water-efficient landscaping, she said.

WRNS Studios of San Francisco is the architect for the project. Herrero Construction of San Francisco is general contractor, and Rockridge Group of San Francisco will serve as project manager.

The existing buildings, which now house grades 1 through 8, were constructed in the 1950s. Sacred Heart began discussing the need to replace the buildings with the town of Atherton in 2007. At that time the Lower School (grades 1 through 5) and the Middle School (grades 6 through 8) were called St. Joseph's School of the Sacred Heart.

Together with the high school (grades 9 through 12), Sacred Heart Schools has an enrollment of 1,123. There are no plans to increase enrollment because of the new campus, according to Lee.

Richard A. Dioli is director of schools, Anne Holloway is chairman of the board of trustees, and Sandy Dubinsky is chief operating officer.

The new campus is made possible through funds raised by the school's current capital campaign, launched in 2008. With a goal of raising $95 million, it is the largest capital campaign that Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton has embarked on in its 113-year history, Lee said.

Among capital campaign achievements to date are: construction of the Michael J. Homer Science and Student Life Center; new athletic fields with all-weather turf; and refurbishment of the Aquatic Center.

The Rev. George H. Niederauer, archbishop of the San Francisco Archdiocese, will attend the groundbreaking ceremonies to be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 15, on the Sacred Heart campus. There will be a community Mass by the Rev. David Ghiorso and site blessing by the archbishop.

A celebration on the football field will include a barbecue lunch, live music, games and activities for all family members.

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