Detroit Catholic Central High School in Novi plans to build a $35-million, 57,000-square-foot Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Center to better equip its students to compete in the 21st Century workforce.
The STEM expansion will be a new addition to the current building. Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2022 with the goal of opening for students in January of 2024.
The addition will add eight new science labs, four dedicated lab prep rooms, an engineering lab, a 5,300-square-foot robotics competition space, a robotics building room, a greenhouse, a lecture hall, an observatory, and several other multi-use spaces.
The addition also will allow the school to transform three current science labs into six additional classrooms, and add an additional computer lab to the current building.
“Without a doubt, this will be a transformative project for our students and their access to state-of-the-art technology,” says Fr. Patrick Fulton CSB, principal of Detroit Catholic Central, “… This expansion will provide the additional space, technology, and equipment necessary for us to take our STEM offerings to an even higher level. The amount of hands-on experience our students are able to gain before graduation will prepare them well for college and beyond.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently stated the STEM fields are expected to see continuous vigorous growth in the coming decades, significantly outpacing non-STEM job creation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs will increase by 10.5 percent from 2020 to 2030. As of 2020, the average STEM job paid $89,780 compared to $40,020 for non-STEM jobs.
The STEM Center is one of many projects included in the master plan for Catholic Central’s campus. The projects are being developed as the school plans for its 100th anniversary in 2028 and looks toward the next 100 years of teaching goodness, discipline, and knowledge.
It is the third major project in the plan. The first initiative, an improved school entrance on Wixom Road, was completed in the fall of 2020. The second initiative, the renovation of the school’s Learning Commons, opened for students this past August.
All of the campus projects, including the $35-million STEM Center addition, have been and will be funded through private donations and will not use tuition money.
To date, Catholic Central donors have contributed nearly 90 percent of the projected total cost. Significant contributors include lead donors Ken ’60 and Valarie Dabrowski, Chris ’87 and Rob ’87 Michalik, Kevin O’Connor ’79, and Tom Wolfe ’77, who named the first-floor entry hall in honor of Fr. Raymond Paramo.
“We have been very blessed in our lives, and I attribute much of our life fulfillment to the foundation in discipline and moral values along with the outstanding education received at Catholic Central High School,” says Dabrowski. “The STEM Center project is a natural fit for Valarie and I to give back to my alma mater.”
“The teachers I had during my time at Catholic Central allowed me to reach my potential,” Wolfe said. “The lessons I took from Fr. Paramo were instrumental in many of my successes in college and my professional life, and to be able to see his name on this new project is very fulfilling.”
The targeted construction schedule, with a goal of opening in January of 2024, is possible due to extensive preparation done in advance of the school’s announcement.
Detroit Catholic Central High School was founded in 1928 to teach young men the Basilian Fathers’ ideals of goodness, discipline, and knowledge. The largest Catholic high school in the state, Catholic Central currently enrolls more than 970 students from 58 cities throughout southeast Michigan.
Today, 99 percent of Catholic Central graduates go on to pursue a college degree. Students’ average SAT and ACT scores are approximately 20 percent higher than the national average and the school provides an array of extra-curricular activities to help students excel beyond the classroom.