First in a series

COAL TOWNSHIP - Our Lady of Lourdes Regional School starts the new school with a facelift - inside and out - and a welcome uptick in enrollment.

New energy-efficient windows have been installed throughout the school, and the parking lot has been resealed and all

potholes filled. The improvements were funded by the $500,000 bequest from the late Joseph C. Leopold.

The interior work that was required for the new windows is now completed with new framing, drywall and paint. The windows replace the original ones that were installed during the school's construction in 1959.

Deacon Martin McCarthy, school administrator and high school principal, and Sister Margaret Quinn, elementary school principal, said during a walk-through of the building Friday that classrooms are ready for students. Because of the window replacement, there is more wall space for teachers in each class to use.

Enrollment is up by 35, including 17 in elementary grades and 18 in the high school section. The school's total enrollment is 475. McCarthy said the school has hired six new full-time and two part-time teachers. Quinn said the school added second classes for sixth, fourth and second grades.

A generous donation of 23 new Toshiba laptop computers was made to the school by Mrs. Cicchiello, and Holy Family School, Berwick, gave Lourdes 25 used computers, which have all received software updates.

"Every elementary classroom, except for pre-k, will have a smartboard and a LCD projector," Quinn said. She added that pre-k will have access to smartboards within the school.

The athletic co-op program with Mount Carmel Area, which McCarthy described as "very successful, continues this school year, sharing young athletes in football, volleyball, soccer, golf, swimming, baseball, softball and football cheerleading.

According to Quinn and McCarthy, the school has completed the "Excellence by Design" study for accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools (MSCSS), with the actual evaluation taking place in the first week of December.

The first day of school for Our Lady of Lourdes regional students in first through ninth grades is Monday. The other students start classes Tuesday.

First Day: Monday, Aug. 25 (for some students)

Total enrollment: 475

New teachers:

Barbara Persing - High school religion

Peg Barbarito - High school English

Amy Feese - Consumer science

Judy Surak - High school Spanish (part time)

Chloe Sidel - Ssecond grade

Sister Donna Ariente - Second grade

Ann Czeponis - Fourth grade

Pat Romanoski - Elementary Spanish (part time)

New staff:

Doug Rubendall - Studies director

Sister Patricia McGuigan - High school tutor and development office secretary