A new educational building will be coming to Perham at St. Henry's Area School. This construction project, called the Led by the Light Campaign, will include several large additions to the already-existing church.

“We’re happy to have another school in a city that’s already blessed with wonderful public schools," said Father Matthew Kuhn, a priest at St. Henry's Catholic Church. "We’re happy to add options to that for people, so that they can enrich the whole community."

The main components of this addition include a chapel, parish hall and school. Next to St. Henry's current building, a new one will be constructed as a K-6 grade school with a later possibility of an addition for teaching up to eighth grade. St. Henry's Area School is at 253 2nd St. SW in Perham.

Father Matthew Kuhn (center left) accepts a donation from Catholic United Financial at St. Henry's groundbreaking ceremony for its new construction project on Sunday, June 6. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
Father Matthew Kuhn (center left) accepts a donation from Catholic United Financial at St. Henry's groundbreaking ceremony for its new construction project on Sunday, June 6. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

This new building will have a parish hall and gymnasium. Between the connection of the hall and church will be an adoration chapel. Kuhn said this will be a mini-church where people can worship.

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The new hall will be able to house up to 440 people, so they'll be hosting community events. Because of the full-size basketball court that will be included, this will include sports tournaments.

“(This project) is for the community," Kuhn said. "It’s not just for the school.”

The budget for the Led by the Light Campaign is about $7.5 million and began around four years ago with the renovation of the old Schoeneberger Funeral Home into the St. Henry's preschool. This preschool currently teaches 29 students and has two classrooms.

The next pieces of this project are expected to be complete by July 2022.

Many people involved with the new construction project at St. Henry's dig into the ground for the first time at its groundbreaking ceremony for its new construction project on Sunday, June 6. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
Many people involved with the new construction project at St. Henry's dig into the ground for the first time at its groundbreaking ceremony for its new construction project on Sunday, June 6. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)

To kick off these next steps, St. Henry's hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on the morning of Sunday, June 6. Kuhn gave a blessing for the site. Then, along with their construction workers, people who helped with fundraising, teachers, the teacher's spouses, deacons, the principal, the financial council and all other groups that helped make this project possible, they picked up their shovels and put on their hard hats.

Using their gold shovels, everyone who participated dug into the ground, signifying the start of the construction. After this, St. Henry's also accepted a donation from Catholic United Financial to help fund the building.

"What (this project) means to me is this community values faith and family, and this is going to be a continuing testament to that, that we put our priority on our children," Kuhn said. "We put our money where our faith is and make it happen."

St. Henry's Area School can be contacted at 218-346-6190 or sthenryschool@arvig.net.