Shea Homes improves classrooms, playgrounds at eight schools

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Second-graders at St. Agnes work on short writing projects on the first day of school Aug. 10.  (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Second-graders at St. Agnes work on short writing projects on the first day of school Aug. 10. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Their name says they specialize in home building, but Shea Homes showcased their skill at community building via eight school makeovers this summer.

Crews of construction workers put in long hours through June, July and some of August to ensure students returned to renovated campuses Aug. 10. One month later, students and teachers at St. Louis the King and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glendale plus St. John Vianney in Goodyear and four Catholic elementary schools in Phoenix remain grateful for the multi-million-dollar project.

Renovations at St. Agnes alone totaled more than $2 million. Common upgrades across the campuses featured new flooring, windows and roofing plus remodeled bathrooms and new playground equipment. Christine Tax, incoming principal at St. Agnes, called the improvements “a tremendous blessing.” Until now, alumni parents and staff recalled campus looking the exact same way when they were students.

“Our students now have a place that is structurally safe and aesthetically pleasing. They have a place where the world of learning has been opened in a way that it has not been before,” Tax said, referring to wifi that St. Agnes can finally offer its students and faculty.

Children test out new playground equipment at St. Agnes Aug. 10. Shea Homes provided the school with essentially its first major renovation since it opened more than 70 years ago.i (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Children test out new playground equipment at St. Agnes Aug. 10. Shea Homes provided the school with essentially its first major renovation since it opened more than 70 years ago.i (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Upgrades also included white boards, projectors, bathrooms and the school office.

“Our older schools, in our Diocese, were looking and praying for miracles to make the necessary improvements to keep our students technology savvy, safe, and to provide inviting learning environments for our students to continue to be successful as learners.  Shea homes, has been that miracle for many of our schools,” said Isabel Bickman, the eighth-grade teacher.

Christina Ramirez, who oversees technology, said “The overall improvements and updates have brought a stronger sense of pride and academic focus for our students.”

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