Jim Strzok, S.J. and Tony Wach, S.J. meet with the architect, James Okema of ASSPRO group to develop plans for the future Ocer Campion Jesuit College.
This is a 10-15 year project, progressing in phases, as outlined below. The first priority is the construction of a secondary school, hopefully to open by mid-2009 with a modest 1-year pre-secondary class. The following 6 years will realize the 4 ordinary levels and the 2 advanced levels, like the British educational system. Slowly the intake of students and faculty will increase as well as the construction of needed buildings. Afterwards, as soon as feasible, a parish church and primary school will be initiated.
With the support and encouragement of the local people, land was obtained through a legal Memo of Understanding and the title is soon to be transferred (Phase II). The campus land was cleared and fenced, with trees/bushes planted around the perimeter. A borehole for water was dug and water tank/tower erected. An architectural sketch for the campus was developed. With the topographical survey complete, a local architect created preliminary designs and cost estimates. Tax incentives have been granted by the Ugandan Ministry of Education.
Construction equipment was purchased, including a tractor with implements, a hydraform brick-making machine, and a pole barn for equipment storage. After delays due to the recent disruption in Kenya, all are now on site. However, no buildings will be erected until the land title is officially transferred to the Jesuits.
Initial philanthropic support for the school is from alumni of the former Campion Jesuit High School that was located in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin but closed in 1975. The 2 Jesuits who are the “project directors” graduated from Campion and commenced fundraising by contacting their classmates. Subsequent contributions have been realized through the foundation of 7-state Wisconsin Province Office, the Jesuit Partnership, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
As of 5/1/08, about $1,400,000 has been raised. This includes a most generous contribution of $1,000,000 from a couple who wishes to remain anonymous. Their gift will ensure the “naming rights” for St. Edmund Campion (Jesuit priest-martyr) and ensure that Phase II is not delayed.
The school name is Ocer Campion Jesuit College. Ocer (pronounced “o che’) is local for “He rose,” referring to the Risen Christ who promised to raise His people from their graves and lead them home (cf. Ezekiel 37, 1-14).
Jesuit leadership in Rome requests that 75% of the needed funds for each phase be “in hand” - not merely pledged – before construction begins. This accepted approach will ensure proper planning as well as motivate supporters to help raise the needed money.
The years 2008 and 2009 will realize finalized architectural plans and construction costs, a detailed educational curriculum, construction of the first buildings, hiring of initial faculty/staff, and enrollment of the first students.The goal is to:
- Finish architectural plans/drawings and confirm local construction costs
- Finalize construction plans through the Project Steering Committee as well as commissions of the EAP and the Roman Curia of the Society of Jesus.
- Finalize the educational program and receive official government license
- Enroll 70 students
- Hire 8-10 faculty/administrators/counselors/dorm supervisors
- Construct a classroom building, with a meeting hall and counseling facilities
- Construct initial faculty housing (including for a few Jesuits and also nuns)
- Construct dormitory and kitchen
- Prepare some playing fields and gardens
- Purchase basic educational and housing supplies
An experienced Jesuit headmaster has visited and he will formally join the faculty/staff by mid-2009. A Jesuit seminarian will arrive in July ’08 to assist the Jesuit civil engineer already on site with local workers. Ugandan teachers as well as local religious women will continue to be recruited.
Additionally, requests for philanthropic support will continue with Campion High School alumni, individuals throughout the United States, and governmental agencies as well as foundations throughout the United States and Europe.
Based on Jesuit experience and the advice of other qualified people, the following are considered imperative for the long-term sustainability of the school:
- Classrooms, workshops, offices, library auditorium, dormitories, kitchens and equipment to support 7 academic years: U.S.$ 7,000,000
- Complete landscaping, surface & waste water disposal: U.S.$ 100,000
- Solar voltaic electricity for IT (computers), dorms, water pump: U.S.$ 500,000
- Jesuit residence for 12: U.S.$ 200,000
- Convents (2) for Sisters: U.S.$ 200,000
- On-campus faculty housing for 25 Individuals U.S.$ 150,000
- Endowment to subsidize student and faculty expenses, with the goal to hire and retain the best possible faculty and to recruit qualified but economically impoverished students: U.S.$10,000,000
The dream is to establish a parish church on/near the campus for the local community and the students as well as establish an elementary school which will be a feeder school for the “college”.
The projects costs for them are the following:
- Parish Church: U.S.$ 250,000
- Primary School for 600 day students: U.S.$ 250,000