St. Paul the Apostle School unveils plans to renovate 1950s building

SPARTANBURG — St. Paul the Apostle School in Spartanburg unveiled illustrations of planned improvements during Catholic Schools Week, which ran Jan. 25-31.

The drawings were done by McMillan Smith and Partners and show a more modernized school building. The current facility was built in 1953 and Patricia Lanthier, principal, said they have long wanted to give it a facelift.

“We really feel like the appearance of the building is keeping our enrollment down,” she said. “People have come right out and said it: ‘You walk up to the building and you don’t even want to come in.’ Which is a shame because we have a wonderful program.”

St. Paul is one of nine diocesan schools to score in the top 10 percent in the country in both reading and math.

Lanthier said the total cost of renovations is about $300,000 and includes a new heating and cooling system, energy-efficient windows, and landscaping. It would also provide for the creation of a definitive school en-trance complete with historic-looking columns. To do this, they need community support.

The school started a funding campaign in September and has raised 75 percent of the $60,000 goal. That money will be split between tuition assistance, teacher benefits, technology and the building improvements.

Lanthier said they are also looking into potential grants and hope to find community benefactors.

Karry Guillory, a school board member who is leading the renovation project, said he believes the Spartanburg community will be proud of the new look.

The school has the support of Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and Diocesan Superintendent Sister Julia Hutchison, who were both present at the unveiling.

Improvement plans actually started almost two years ago when professors at Clemson University turned the school’s need into a class assignment, Lanthier said. Architectural students from Clemson came to St. Paul to take pictures and measurements, then created 3-D renderings of their proposals. Lanthier and the school board members chose the top eight models, which were placed at St. Paul for everyone to view.

Finally, Lanthier said, they gave photos of the eight models to the architectural firm and asked them to create an inexpensive, feasible plan.

Students said the new building will look better and they will be happy to have energy-efficient windows.

A time frame has not been established, but Lanthier hopes to start this summer. She added that some elements could start before the end of school, such as landscaping. The PTO spruced up the rear of the school last year, and Lanthier hopes they will do the same thing for the front this year.

“Anybody that wants to take charge of something, they are welcome to it,” she said.