Plans are under way to sell the building that housed the former Immaculata Catholic High School.
The school closed its doors for the final time at the end of the spring semester. School officials said declining enrollment in recent years led to the decision to cease operations. The school had been operating since 1923.
But the venerable building, located on the corner of Shawnee and Sixth streets, will have a different future, depending on its next owner.
“I imagine it could be utilized for all sorts of things,” said Rolly Dessert, president of the Leavenworth Regional Catholic School System Board of Trustees.
Since it closed, the high school building has been turned over to the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas.
“The building itself is sound as a structure,” Dessert said. “It just needs updating on things like plumbing and electrical.”
Religious symbols have been removed from school grounds and the exterior walls, including a prominent cross on top of the building.
School items such as desks, computers and administrative tools have been moved to Xavier Catholic School. Other items such as lockers, chemistry laboratory items and weightlifting equipment have been purchased by other Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
A Virgin Mary statue that was located in the main entry of the school has been moved to Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph parish. Conference tables and chairs at the school have been adopted by Sacred Heart-St. Casmir parish.
A large crucifix which was mounted on an exterior wall at the school has been moved to the University of Saint Mary.
Class photos that lined the interior hallways at the school have been transported to the Knights of Columbus building, where they are being historically preserved.
Dessert said longtime church member Larry Lemke has been instrumental in cleaning up the school and getting it ready to sell.
Meanwhile, former students and staff at Immaculata will be transitioning to new schools and jobs.
Rick Geraci, former principal at Immaculata, created individual portfolios of all students and staff to chart their transitions elsewhere.
“He did a marvelous job of focusing on people – the students and the staff,” Dessert said.
Dessert said nearly one-half of the former Immaculata students are now enrolled in other Catholic schools in the archdiocese. Others have chosen to finish their high school careers at public schools. He said all teachers except one have been placed in jobs at other Catholic or public high schools.
Student transcripts that date back to the school’s beginning are in a vault and have been transported to Xavier.
The Leavenworth Regional Catholic School System hosted a Legacy Event in early June. The event was designed to give Immaculata alumni and patrons one last chance to visit the school and walk the hallways.
The event also served as a fundraiser. Visitors were invited to purchase all sorts of items from the school, including trophies, books, furniture and much more.
Dessert said approximately $40,000 was raised. He said the funds will go to Xavier Catholic School.
He said Xavier Catholic School will have 135 students in kindergarten through eighth grade and 122 preschool students when the 2017-2018 school year begins.