Sisters of Providence sponsored institution dedicates new facility
“This Providence Cristo Rey community has big dreams for the future, and this place that they can call ‘home’ is where those dreams can develop and become a reality.”
These words were spoken by Sister Jeanne Hagelskamp, SP, during the blessing and ribbon cutting of the new facility Providence Cristo Rey High School recently purchased and moved into for the upcoming school year. Providence Cristo Rey High School is a sponsored institution of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
The school’s mission statement reads, “A Catholic, coeducational, college and career preparatory high school serving Indianapolis, Providence Cristo Rey High School offers a transformational educational experience to students with economic need.”
The new facility is located at 2717 S. East St., Indianapolis. Prior to this move, the school was located at 75 N. Belleview Place, a location the school had operated in since its opening in 2007. The school enrollment for the 2022-23 academic year isapproximately 220 students.
Sandy Pasotti, who serves as the assistant to the president of the school, said officials knew 15 years ago that a move would be necessary.
“When we opened in 2007, Sister Jeanne and the leadership team knew that this would not be our forever home,” Pasotti said. “It was an elementary school building with limitations and no room for expanding as enrollment grew.”
The new facility, a 131,000-square foot building, features a regulation size gymnasium and stage, large cafeteria and full kitchen, a soccer field and outdoor track, large classrooms and more. It will also offer the school the opportunity to host home sporting events in the gymnasium in addition to the possibility of creating baseball and softball fields in the future.
“This new space is a dream come true for the Providence Cristo Rey students, staff and community,” Pasotti said. “It reflects the level of professionalism we expect from our students. They deserve a space that says ‘we value you and want you to use your potential and your gifts to become the person God intended you to be.’
“The new space will allow us to build community by hosting not only athletic competitions in our gym and on our soccer field, but graduation, fundraisers and more. And this space will allow us to grow our enrollment and serve even more young persons who will benefit from a Providence Cristo Rey experience.”
Pasotti added enrollment growth was another primary reason to find a new building.
“The former building is half the size,” she said. “With a lot of hard work from many volunteers, staff and partner companies, we made the building work, but because of enrollment growth and major facility repairs, we sought to move to a new space.
“One of our strategic plan goals is to grow enrollment over the next four years to our ideal enrollment, which is somewhere between 260 and 300 students, and this property will allow us to do that.”
Providence Associate Donna Watzke, who was an eight-year member of the Providence Cristo Rey Board of Directors, said the new facility will benefit everyone at the school.
“The old building was a very old public school. The facilities were very crowded and lacking and there was no room for expansion of any kind,” Watzke said. “The new building has what a high school needs. This move really speaks to the mission of Providence and the continued outreach of love, mercy and justice.”
In the fall of 2003, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis received a grant for a study on the establishment of a Cristo Rey school in the Archdiocese. The school model, created by Jesuits, instills classroom instruction through a work study program for students from economically disadvantaged families.
The Archdiocese reached out to the Sisters of Providence to help sponsor the school. The Congregation agreed and opened the school in 2007 under the leadership of then president and principal, Sister Jeanne. Today, the school has more than 80 corporate work study partners.
Following the blessing, those in attendance at the event toured the building, including stopping at the future chapel, where a blessing of the building took place. A reception also took place in the gymnasium. The Sisters of Providence Leadership Team gifted the school with a portrait of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and a statue of their foundress. The statue came from Guerin Prep High School in River Grove, Illinois.