St. Anne's students find room to grow at larger school Parents lobbied, worked on building for Episcopal facility

September 30, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Most parents bake cookies, chaperon field trips or volunteer at sporting events when they want to get involved in their children's schools.

Not James W. Reinig. He helped create and build a whole new building for St. Anne's Day School in Annapolis.

Thanks to him and to dozens of other parents, St. Anne's parishioners and school administrators, 195 students started school this year in a two-story complex on 10 acres off Arundel on the Bay Road -- the first Episcopal elementary and middle school in Anne Arundel County.

"I guess I took getting involved to the maximum degree," said Reinig, an Annapolis radiologist whose two children attend St. Anne's. "The magnitude of this undertaking was so great, if we had truly realized how much work it was going to be, we never would have done it. But now we go in there and shake our heads in amazement."

Founded in 1960 as a nursery and kindergarten, the school had NTC been housed in St. Anne's parish house on Duke of Gloucester Street since 1980. It expanded into elementary education in 1992, when it added the first grade.

With the school planning to add new grades each year, Reinig and other parents began lobbying for more space. In 1993, Reinig, Frances C. Lukens, the school principal, and Barbara Stowe Tower, chairwoman of the board of trustees, began scouting sites and looking at designs.

Meanwhile, parents and friends began raising almost half the $2.5 million needed for the project.

"There's just a special feel to this place," said Joan Williams, whose sons attend St. Anne's. "I love it that the teachers have time to talk to you and work with your children and that everyone cares so much. That's why so many people wanted to be a part of building this new school."

One board member, who is an architect, designed the color scheme of the school and its hallways. A St. Anne's parishioner designed, built and donated equipment to the computer lab. Other parents helped wire the building.

The school has 12 large classrooms and a multimedia library with flexible space for a chapel, administrative offices and music and art labs, as well as the computer lab.

"I love it," said Alexandra Caldwell, 10, a fifth-grader who sat in the art lab with her classmates, coloring in bubbly letters with a marker. "It's really big and nice, and there are elevators and lockers. It makes me feel older."

Gone are the days when students used St. Anne's Cemetery near the Arundel Center as a sports field and physical education area.

No more renting space elsewhere for some students -- last year, third- and fourth-grade classes were held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Now, only preschool and kindergarten are held in the St. Anne's parish house.

Phase two -- a middle-school wing and gymnasium -- is planned over the next two years. Grades five and six started this year.

"It's really taken me a while to understand that this is all here and it's all working," said Lukens, whose daughter attends St. Anne's school. "All the hard work has paid off. Now, I walk around and see the children in their new classrooms and they're happy, and I'm just thrilled."

Pub Date: 9/30/96

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