EASTON, Md. — Excitement was readily apparent for students, faculty and parish leaders Feb. 5 as the official groundbreaking happened for the new Ss. Peter and Paul High School and a parish family life center alongside the church on S. Washington Street.
Both facilities will open next year at the conclusion of the $18 million project, according to Father James Nash, pastor at Ss. Peter and Paul. In December, project leaders reported that $15.5 million had already been raised and the goal is to have all of the funding secured by the end of construction.
Bishop Malooly led about a dozen school, parish and town leaders in turning over the first shovel of dirt on the school site.
“Catholic schools are crucial for our faith in today’s society,” Bishop Malooly said. “And parish gathering spaces help people grow together. This is a blessed day. It’s so good to hear your enthusiasm that’s been such a big part of the success of this for everyone.”
Fewer than 200 students currently attend the high school, but the new school will be built to accommodate 325. In addition to the new educational space, the site will include a sports complex with two lacrosse/soccer fields, tennis courts, a baseball diamond and a softball field.
“This began with the family life center about 3-4 years ago and it just expanded,” Father Nash said. “The school is just an amazing opportunity for our kids, as our motto is to grow in mind, body and spirit. Not just Catholics, but we have a great number of people of other faiths. It’s going to be a benefit, not just to our community, but the whole Easton community, Talbot County and beyond.
About 400 people attended the afternoon groundbreaking. Town leaders and students from both the elementary and high schools joined parish and diocesan officials in celebrating the start of construction.
“You deserve this,” Father Nash told students, “and we are proud to be part of bringing this project to you and your faculty.”
Father Nash thanked Bishop Malooly and Msgr. Steven Hurley, diocese vicar general and moderator of the curia, for their support and also gave thanks to volunteers, parishioners and school board members who have helped get the project off the ground.
“The untold hours of work that have made this soon to be a reality … you are changing the face of Easton and Talbot County,” he said.
The family life center will include parish offices, a chapel for daily Mass and a social hall.
The new high school building will replace what was supposed to be a temporary structure behind the elementary school that has served as its home since the mid-1990s. It was remodeled after a fire in 2013. When the high school opened in 1958, it was housed in the elementary school.