Peoria Notre Dame considering new facilities, location

By: By Tom Dermody

A feasibility study is planned this fall to determine the level of financial support for the construction of a new Peoria Notre Dame High School facility on donated land off Willow Knolls Road in north Peoria.

The “intent to study” was announced Tuesday night by school officials during a town hall-style meeting at Peoria Notre Dame attended by about 125 people.

The school’s board of trustees agreed to take the action based on findings from the Reid Group, which was commissioned by the Diocese of Peoria to study the future facility needs of Peoria-area Catholic schools, including Peoria Notre Dame. That study explored several options for Peoria Notre Dame — including renovating the current campus on Sheridan Road — before making its recommendation to build a new school and athletic complexes at the Willow Knolls Road location.

If the feasibility study leads to a successful capital campaign, the school could move to the new campus facilities by the fall of 2012. Information distributed at the meeting indicated school leaders are fully committed to a new facility, even if the move is delayed or must take place in phases.

Attendees received a map of the proposed future campus showing possible locations for academic wings, chapel, auditorium and athletic facilities including a gymnasium, football stadium, soccer and baseball fields, swimming pool and tennis courts. The full construction cost is estimated at $60 million.

The proposed location, on 40 acres of land near Resurrection Cemetery by the intersection of Willow Knolls and Allen roads, will become even more accessible when a planned new exit for nearby Route 6 and an extended Pioneer Parkway are built, said school officials.

The town meeting also served as a one-year update on progress following Peoria Notre Dame’s move to a new president-principal model of governance. Roy, who completed his first year as principal, outlined various goals achieved in the past 12 months and outlined several for the near future, including increased enrollment and a technology upgrade that will include a switch to new Macintosh computers.

Peoria Notre Dame’s enrollment is about 800. This spring’s graduation class had 176 members.

While Peoria Notre Dame is responsible for its own development, planning, fundraising and execution of any building plans, the school has been working with the diocese on this project.

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