$17.8 million renovation complete at Wahlert Catholic High Schoo - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

$17.8 million renovation complete at Wahlert Catholic High School

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

After more than a year and a half of construction and plenty of headaches for students and staff alike, renovations at Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque are finished.

The $17.8 million project officially started in early 2016, though the majority of the work kicked off last summer.

"You know, it feels great. The opportunities that we have now as far as functionality of the building. Things I worried about for the years prior to the renovation. Were we going to  have heat in the building? In particular rooms?  What did our kids have to prepare for when they came to school for the day? All of those issues are now behind us," said Principal Ron Meyers.

The changes are very evident.  The halls are more brightly lit.

"It just makes for a much more inviting environment," Meyers said.

The cafeteria is now more like a college-style commons area.

"It's a much more usable space. The functionality is much greater," said Meyers.

And a shakeup is now possible in the classrooms.

"We're looking at programming altogether differently than we did before this, because we're not letting the building itself be the barrier. We're deciding what we want to do and then we've got the space to get it accomplished," he said.

Even a brand new Jesus adorns the wall where a stairwell used to be. And of course, he's keeping his eyes on the students.

"That was done on purpose to keep them in line," Meyers said.

All of these changes coming to a building that didn't expand.

"The footprint is very similar to what it was prior to renovation, but we again made the space we have so much more functional," Meyers said.

And all of these changes making a big difference in the day to day life of students and staff.

"I can say that our students are much more positive about coming into the environment. They're not letting things get in the way that would've gotten in the way before as far as how prepared do they need to be for the day?"

The school will be hosting an open house Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

The $17.8 million project was funded by more than 1,000 donors.

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