New Catholic high school receives $1 million pledge challenge

Monday, August 9, 2010 | 6:57 p.m. CDT; updated 1:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 17, 2012
A sketch from Peckham & Wright Architects Inc. show what the Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School will look like once completed. The school is expected to open in fall 2011 and will draw students from Columbia's three parishes.

COLUMBIA — Columbia's new Catholic high school has received a $1 million pledge to help get closer to its fundraising goals.

The award comes with a stipulation. Once fundraising for the Father Augustine Tolton Regional Catholic High School reaches the $12 million mark, the $1 million will be donated, which would leave the school only another million away from its overall goal.

The donation was announced in a news release Monday.

"The pledge challenge is from a Catholic family," said Jane Rutter, stewardship director for the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City. "They're very committed to Catholic education and they wanted to be able to do something significant in challenging others to give."

The regional high school school is planned to open in fall 2011. It will draw from all three parishes in Columbia: Our Lady of Lourdes, Sacred Heart and the St. Thomas More Newman Center.

The estimated cost of the school is $14 million, and organizers have raised $10.3 million so far. Construction on the school has already begun. Since the groundbreaking ceremony May 23, $1 million has been raised, Rutter said.

Most of the money is coming from Catholic families and community businesses, Rutter said.

"It's a very tight deadline to build it in one year so we'll just have to pray for good weather and no major construction delays," said Rutter.

The school's cost of $14 million is $2 million less than previously estimated, as construction bids came in about 20 percent lowered than anticipated, Rutter said.

The first year the school is open it will have ninth and 10th grades. The school plans to add a new grade each year until the school houses ninth through 12 graders. Tuition is expected to be between $5,000 to $6,000.

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Joy Mayer August 10, 2010 | 10:46 a.m.

A reader wrote in this morning asking about the school's location.

Here’s a link to an earlier story that talks about the plans for the site:

It includes this sentence: “The school will be built west of U.S. 63, to the north of Gans Road and east of Bearfield Road on about 23 acres of land.”

— Joy Mayer,

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