Thanks to a major gift from De Pere natives and Catholic supporters Jim and Miriam Mulva, a new state-of-the-art Notre Dame School of De Pere and a parish hall at St. Francis Xavier will be built.
Jim and Miriam Mulva, who earlier this month announced their gift of the Mulva Cultural Center to their hometown of De Pere, are ready to bring another transformative treasure to their community.
In collaboration with Notre Dame School of De Pere and the Catholic churches on De Pere’s east side, the Mulvas are happy to announce today plans for redevelopment of the two existing Notre Dame school buildings and parts of the adjacent St. Francis Xavier Parish.
The Mulvas are making a substantial gift of $27 million to cover the costs of building a new three-story Notre Dame School that would serve all of its students from early childhood through eighth grade, as well as the construction of a new parish center for St. Francis Xavier.
“For Jim and me, Catholic faith and Catholic education have been the bedrock of our lives since we were growing up in De Pere,” Miriam Mulva says. “We both attended Catholic schools in the city. Now, when we are in town, we attend Mass at and support the Catholic parishes of St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary. So, in our longstanding dedication to Catholic education and the De Pere community we so dearly love, we are pleased to make this gift to the St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary parishes, which own the buildings that house Notre Dame School.”
Today’s announcement comes two weeks after the Mulvas and the De Pere Cultural Foundation unveiled plans to build a $50 million Mulva Cultural Center in the heart of downtown De Pere. Pending city approval within the next year, the three-story, 60,000-square-foot center to showcase world-class arts and culture has a proposed opening in 2022.
Through a diocesan proxy administered and approved by Bishop David Ricken and the Green Bay Diocese late last week, St. Francis Xavier Parish is transferring adjacent land currently occupied by Notre Dame Middle School at 221 S. Wisconsin St. and the parish’s Father Tony Dolski Parish Center, St. Francis Xavier House and garages to the De Pere Cultural Foundation.
The Mulvas are committed to replacing the existing Notre Dame Elementary School building with an 87,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art school that will become the merged campus for the entire Notre Dame School. Currently, the elementary school is two blocks away from the middle school at 100 S. Huron St. The elementary school building previously was home to St. Mary School, attended by generations of De Pere Catholics.
Notre Dame School of De Pere is supported by St. Francis Xavier Parish and St. Mary Catholic Church, which is in the neighboring Town of Ledgeview. Through a collaborative facility study initiated by the two parishes five years ago, both Notre Dame school buildings were identified as needing costly maintenance and repairs.
Two highly acclaimed Wisconsin companies will lead the design and construction of the new Notre Dame School of De Pere. GROTH Design Group, based in Cedarburg and Milwaukee, is the project architect. Miron Construction Co. Inc., headquartered in Neenah, is the building contractor.
“GROTH Design Group and Miron Construction are highly regarded throughout Wisconsin, the Midwest and other parts of the country for their design and construction of schools,” Jim Mulva says. “We are pleased the parish is partnering with both companies on this exciting new project to enhance the educational and faith opportunities for children and families in the De Pere community.”
Preliminary building plans for the new school include state-of-the-art classrooms and flexible learning spaces for students, a two-station gymnasium and a chapel.
“We are fortunate at Notre Dame of De Pere to have incredible teachers and families who are invested in and witnesses to our youth as they grow in their Catholic faith,” says Molly Mares, the school principal. “It’s such an amazing community to be a part of as our students learn, grow, play, pray and serve—all together. We have a thriving school community, and I can’t wait to see what that looks like in the new school.”
As part of this project, a new St. Francis Xavier parish hall will be built to replace the Dolski Parish Center. Also, the current Notre Dame Middle School and Dolski Parish Center will be razed, and once cleared, the property upon which those buildings sit will be transferred by St. Francis Xavier Parish to the De Pere Cultural Foundation for use as landscaped areas and parking for the Mulva Cultural Center. For church services, St. Francis Xavier parishioners will have use of new Mulva Cultural Center parking.
“This exciting opportunity would only be possible through God’s grace and the generosity of Jim and Miriam Mulva, whose passion for Catholic faith, Catholic education and the De Pere community is truly inspiring,” says Father Richard Getchel, pastor of St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary parishes.
Development plans for the current Notre Dame Middle School and St. Francis Xavier parish hall land are expected to be submitted to the De Pere Common Council for approval this summer.
A partial demolition of parish property is expected to begin this summer. The Creekside Christian Montessori school, which leased building space on the existing Notre Dame Elementary School site, is relocating in the De Pere area to accommodate the early construction plans by Miron for the new school and new parish center. Demolition of the current Notre Dame Middle School and the Dolski Parish Center is expected to occur in summer 2020.
“Jim and Miriam Mulva epitomize what De Pere is all about—family first, hardworking, love of community, forward thinking—and I am so proud and happy that this is their hometown,” De Pere Mayor Mike Walsh says. “As a city, we are very grateful and excited that the Mulvas are, once again, looking out for our community with this incredibly generous gift to ensure a new school for Notre Dame and enhancements at one of our landmark parishes, St. Francis Xavier. We look forward to working with the Mulvas and the De Pere Cultural Foundation to move this project forward.”
Miron plans to have the new St. Francis Xavier parish center ready for move-in next spring and have the new Notre Dame School of De Pere campus open in August 2020 for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Classes at both existing Notre Dame School buildings will continue without disruption in the 2019-20 school year during construction.
“Our entire team at Miron Construction is thrilled to be a part of this incredible De Pere development, in conjunction with Notre Dame School of De Pere and St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary parishes and in collaboration with the Mulvas. This world-class facility will not only enhance Catholic education in our area but will elevate the entire surrounding community as well,” says David G. Voss Jr., Miron president and CEO.
JIM AND MIRIAM MULVA
Miriam (Brozyna) Mulva grew up in De Pere, Wisconsin. A graduate of St. Norbert College in her hometown and an active volunteer, Miriam serves on St. Norbert College’s Board of Trustees, is active in her faith and manages with her husband James the many activities of the Mulva Family Foundation.
James (Jim) Mulva also is a De Pere native and a graduate of the University of Texas, BBA and MBA. He is a former naval officer and retired chairman and CEO of Phillips Petroleum Company and then ConocoPhillips. Jim has served on many corporate boards, including the National Petroleum Council, and currently serves on the board of directors of General Electric, General Motors Company, Green Bay Packaging, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he has served as board chair.
The Mulvas’ love of De Pere and culture continues to result in significant contributions to their hometown’s vibrancy. Examples of prominent gifts from the Mulvas and the Mulva Family Foundation within walking distance of the proposed new Mulva Cultural Center in downtown De Pere include the Gehl-Mulva Science Center, Mulva Family Fitness and Sports Center, a statue named “The Conversion” and the Mulva Library, all located at St. Norbert College—Miriam’s alma mater. The Mulvas also have committed to other educational, health and community organizations throughout the region including ball fields, a YMCA swimming pool, De Pere lock and dam beautification projects, and many others.
DE PERE CULTURAL FOUNDATION
The De Pere Cultural Foundation is a tax-exempt, private operating foundation funded by contributions from Jim and Miriam Mulva that was organized for the purpose of designing, constructing and operating the proposed new Mulva Cultural Center in downtown De Pere, Wisconsin. To learn more, visit mulvaculturalcenter.com.
ST. FRANCIS XAVIER and ST. MARY CATHOLIC PARISHES
The Catholic faith has been interwoven into the fabric of what is now the City of De Pere, Wisconsin, for nearly 350 years after Jesuit missionary Father Claude Allouez founded the St. Francis Xavier Mission and built a chapel on the east bank of the Fox River. The St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary Catholic parishes have served generations of Catholics on De Pere’s east side since the late 1800s. The existing St. Francis Xavier church in downtown De Pere was dedicated in 1972. The current St. Mary church relocated from downtown De Pere to neighboring Ledgeview in 1998. The two parishes were linked as one with a single pastor serving both congregations in 2006. To learn more, visit stfrancisdepere.org and stmarydepere.org.
NOTRE DAME SCHOOL OF DE PERE
A longtime Catholic school on the east side of downtown De Pere, Wisconsin, Notre Dame School serves more than 350 students in early childhood through eighth grade. As one of the first school consolidations in the Green Bay Diocese, St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary schools merged in 1971 and became Notre Dame. Jointly supported by St. Francis Xavier and St. Mary Catholic parishes, Notre Dame is part of the nine-school Green Bay Area Catholic Education school system (GRACE). To learn more, visit notredameofdepere.com.
GROTH DESIGN GROUP
Established in 1994, GROTH Design Group is home to registered architects, LEED Accredited Professionals, project managers and designers, interior designers, construction administrators and support professionals. From the Wisconsin communities of Cedarburg and Milwaukee, GROTH helps its clients with single-discipline studies to renovation and new construction. Its projects span a number of sectors—from religious, education and corporate to senior life, health care and community. To learn more, visit gdg-architects.com.
MIRON CONSTRUCTION CO. INC.
Miron Construction Co. Inc. provides innovative pre-construction, construction management, design-build, industrial, and general construction services to multiple markets throughout the United States. The family-owned company, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, has a team of more than 1,500 with corporate headquarters in Neenah, Wisconsin, and five regional offices in Wisconsin and Iowa. Miron has completed numerous projects throughout the Midwest and continues to expand into the national marketplace with projects in Oklahoma, Georgia, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. To learn more, visit miron-construction.com.