Shakopee school retires $100K debt

| January 27, 2016 | 0 Comments
The exterior of Shakopee Area Catholic School, which paid off its final $100,000 in debt remaining from the school's 2003 construction Jan. 26. Courtesy SACS

The exterior of Shakopee Area Catholic School, which paid off its final $100,000 in debt remaining from the school’s 2003 construction Jan. 26. Courtesy SACS

Shakopee Area Catholic School is now debt free. The school, along with the parish of Sts. Joachim and Anne in Shakopee, made a big push in the last month to pay off the final $100,000.

The final payment of $92,000 was made Jan. 26. Father Erik Lundgren, the parish’s pastor, said there would be a ceremonial burning of the mortgage after a 10 a.m. Mass Jan. 31 at the school gymnasium that will kick off Catholic Schools Week.

“It’s pretty exciting, it’s just a big step forward,” Father Lundgren said. “We’re delighted that we can roll it out as part of Catholic Schools Week. The general message is we think we’re one of the finest schools in the Twin Cities and it’s going to get only better. The way I like to put it is I consider it [retiring the debt] the snowflake on top of the tip of the iceberg.”

The largest Catholic education center in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the 100,000-square-foot school was built in 2003 on 30 acres at a cost of $13 million, with a mortgage of $4 million. It has an enrollment of 731 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and has a maximum capacity of 900 students.

SACS formed in 1970 with the consolidation of schools from three Shakopee-area parishes: St. Mark, St. Mary and St. Mary of the Purification. The parishes have since merged to form Sts. Joachim and Anne parish.

School president Diane Lee, who has been on staff since 1990, said that retiring the debt will help keep tuition costs down by lessening tuition increases in future years.

“That’s a big plus for us,” she said. “To have retired the debt, it’s just so many miracles and so many supportive people in order to do that.”

The ultimate goal is to be in a strong enough financial position so “that everyone that wants to come to our school can come,” Lee said.

Father Lundgren also hopes to serve Shakopee area’s growing Latino population, which includes many Catholic families. Currently, there are 32 Latino students enrolled at SACS.

“We have a large Latino population,” he said. “The number of Latino families going to our school has increased significantly in the last year. I suspect that by next fall, we will have twice as many Latino families as we did two years ago.”

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