By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer
HYDE PARK - Each year, Summit Country Day School holds "Campus Day," with student artwork and musical performances.
Sunday's event drew about 500 people and began with a Mass in the newly renovated, historical Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel.
The congregation stands for a closing prayer in the chapel at Summit Country Day School on Sunday.
(Melissa Heatherly photo)
But this year was different. The day held special meaning for this prestigious private Catholic school in light of January's partial collapse of Summit's main building. The construction accident occurred in the midst of an $11 million project for a new Lower School.
In what many still marvel at as a miracle, no one in the 1,100-student school was injured. The three stories that fell in the east wing toppled on a Sunday morning.
The accident, blamed on digging for the new building too close to the main one, turned into a positive experience after an outpour of community support, says Joseph T. Devlin, Summit's head of school.
"It has been a challenging year but, fortunately, everything came out," Devlin said. "It really, all in all, turned out to be an opportunity for us."
Xavier University offered space for high schoolers and Crossroads Community Church in Oakley, an interdenominational church, came through with classrooms for preschoolers and kindergartners.
First- through eighth-grade students returned to campus right away but attended classes in areas away from the main building. They ate lunch in their classrooms until the west portion of the main building, which holds the lunchroom, recently reopened.
Reconstruction is almost completed on the main building that collapsed in January.
(Melissa Heatherly photo)
This fall, all students will return to the main campus. The new Lower School is expected to open on schedule Sept. 7.
On June 6, Summit's seniors will graduate in the freshly painted and cleaned chapel.
Summit, Devlin points out, didn't skip a beat after the collapse.
"I expected the Summit community to be pretty remarkable and they were," he said. "But so many businesses in the community, in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, reached out to us.
"It was incredible. Many different faiths reached out to us, different schools, both private and public. It was heartening." On Sunday, parents and students said they were grateful to be back "home." They anticipate the new building opening and are impressed at how smoothly everything ran since the collapse.
"It's really drawn the community together," said Judy Schwarz, 41, of Hyde Park, as she viewed student artwork Sunday with her three children. "Out of adversity come good things."
Kerry's paid staffers begin work in Ohio
Golf course marks 90th year
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
New life for old factory
One-stop process finally in place
Industrial sites see renewal
Jewish leaders honor Carl Lindner
War carried young nurse far away from home
Move on to preserve homes that gave refuge to slaves
Local news briefs
Tennessee swipes Powerball sales
Nunn auction draws crowd
Primaries set up House battle
Summit celebrates comeback
Diploma being redefined
Penmanship proves it has rewards
Seven join Hall of Fame
SPECIAL REPORT: SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL
A half-century later, racial divide persists
Union, Habitat link up
One woman helps hundreds
Congregation's growth reflects community's
Land swap to shelter park from golf balls