Walking down the halls of Our Lady of the Hamptons School in Southampton Village, it is easy to see that the Catholic elementary school is filled to the brim with its own distinct sense of community.Now, the 300-student kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school is working to expand, and is entering a final push to double the size of the North Main Street school, adding new classrooms to a recently opened gymnasium extension.
The project, which has been discussed among the school community since 2008, is more than halfway done, but the school needs an estimated $450,000 boost to finish the extension, which administrators hope to have completed by January.
“We believe in this project, and we believe it can happen soon,” said Sister Kathryn Schlueter, the school’s principal, on Tuesday morning. “We are doing everything we can to fundraise, and we will see what happens.”
Once completed, the $3.7 million expansion project will add 18,000 square feet to the current 21,000-square-foot school. To date, the new building, which has been attached to the old school building via a hallway running along the exterior of the original gym/cafeteria, has already been constructed, but it still needs interior work.
The project was planned in three phases. The first was to put up the building, half of which is dedicated to four new classrooms and two new resource rooms, and the other half of which is a new gymnasium and indoor running track. At the end of the first phase, the gymnasium half of the building was completed, and it opened for student and class use in January.
During phase two, which was completed simultaneously, the new hallway was constructed to connect the buildings. The hallway extends the width of the old building, by making the old exterior brick wall an interior wall and expanding outward.
In phase three, which the school is looking to raise funds for now, the classrooms will be completed. Currently, the new classrooms have been studded, and the structure of the building is in place. The last of the funding will go toward building walls and ceilings, installing flooring, and personalizing the new space. An elevator will also be installed in the two-floor building.
The final phase is expected to cost $850,000. Approximately $450,000 has already been secured through donations, and school officials hope to raise the rest shortly. According to Sister Schlueter, the entire $3.7 million project has been paid for with donations—so far, 540 people have contributed to the cause—supplementing money raised through cake sales, raffles and schoolwide events. She said she is confident the last of the money will come through. The school is in the middle of a letter-writing campaign targeting alumni and members of the East End Catholic community.
Anyone wishing to donate to the school can contact the main office at 283-9140 for more information.
“Funding these types of projects is different for Catholic schools,” Sister Schlueter said. “In Southampton, if they need something, they can pass it on to the taxpayers. We can’t and don’t want to do that. We have to ask everyone for donations. But there are only so many cake sales you can have. Every little bit helps.”