DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) — Notre Dame School of De Pere will be getting a new, three-story building thanks to a $27 million gift from a local family.
“This opportunity is not just once in a lifetime, but about once in three or four lifetimes,” Molly Mares, Principal of Notre Dame of De Pere told Local 5. “Both of our schools are – they’re older facilities.”
Jim and Miriam Mulva announced the donation Tuesday. The money will cover the cost of the new building as well as the construction of a new parish center for St. Francis Xavier.
The proposed new Notre Dame School of De Pere is 87,000 square feet and will become the merged campus for students in early childhood through eighth grade. Currently, the elementary and middle schools are two separate buildings two blocks away from each other.
“…in our longstanding dedication to Catholic education and the De Pere community we so dearly love, we are pleased to make this gift to the St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary parishes, which own the buildings that house Notre Dame School,” said Miriam Mulva.
The announcement comes two weeks after the Mulvas and the De Pere Cultural Foundation announced plans to build a $50 million Mulva Cultural Center in downtown De Pere. The center has a proposed opening of 2022.
“These things have been in the works for as much as four years,” Miriam Mulva said, “so it’s very exciting for us to be able to announce these and the two projects really kind of link.”
Rev. Richard Getchel, Pastor for St. Francis Xavier Parish and St. Mary Parish, says that the students will benefit from the proximity to the new Mulva Cultural Center.
“Our students would be right there being about to participate in these traveling exhibits that are being proposed for that new center,” he said.
Combining the schools will also free up parking space for the Cultural Center.
“The Mulva’s did talk about trying to do something to get more parking, and so that was kind of the natural thing to do,” Mayor Mike Walsh of De Pere said.
As a part of the deal with the Green Bay Diocese, land currently occupied by Notre Dame Middle School and the parish’s Father Tony Dolski Parish Center. St. Francis Xavier House and garages will be transferred to the De Pere Cultural Foundation to clear more room for the Mulva Cultural Center.
“We have a pretty strong sense and feel of what it’s going to look like when it’s done,” Jim Mulva said, “and I think that’s going to come across as something that we think is going to be really appreciated by all in the community, but most important, it’s going to be for the benefit of the young children.”
Construction on the new school is expected to begin after the 2019-2020 school year.
The 2020-2021 school year will be the first in the new building.