Visitation breaks ground for school expansion
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY - With beer, barbecue and the Bishop's blessing, Visitation Parish celebrated the Memorial Day groundbreaking of a year-long, $4.9 million project to expand and update the parish school.
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Audrey Sarachini, center, turns over a shovelful of dirt with Bishop Raymond J. Boland at groundbreaking ceremonies May 31 for the expansion of Visitation School. From left are Audrey's sister Elizabeth Sarachini, her father Timothy Sarachini; her mother,
Architect Dennis Strait of Gould Evans Goodman Associates told the crowd at the ceremony at the school site near 52nd and Baltimore that the project involves construction of two major additions to increase the capacity of the school to 600 students, as well as major renovations.
The biggest addition will be the construction of a new gymnasium with a stage. The new facility will be named in honor of Thomas Rice Saracini, a Visitation School student who died in February 1998. Thomas' parents, Timothy and Rose Crowe Saracini, and two sisters, Elizabeth and Audrey, helped break ground for the new addition with Bishop Raymond J. Boland and Visitation pastor Father Norman Rotert.
Other improvements call for building a new entrance way, adding a new library, constructing a new lobby, air-conditioning the entire building, wiring the building for computer technology, upgrading science and language labs, adding rooms for music and art, and improving the lighting throughout the building.
The project, however, will require that the school move for the 1999-2000 school year. The parish has leased the former Bingham Science and Math Magnet Middle School, 7618 Wyandotte, from the Kansas City Public School District.
Before blessing the construction site, Bishop Boland congratulated Visitation Parish, located just south of Kansas City's Country Club Plaza, on its ambitious plan.
"You are here to stay," the Bishop said. "That's very important not only from the point of view of the Church, but from the point of view of urban planning. There are too many cities where everything around begins to grow and the center declines. You are a part of remedial urban planning."