St. Patrick's School (Fairfax)


Years Active: 1913-1958

St. Patrick School had its first classes September 7, 1913, with Cedar Rapids Sisters of Mercy taking charge of the elementary school and the high school. The pioneer faculty–Sister Mary Adelaide Wilson, principal and high-school teacher; Sister Mary Gualberta Marron, Sister Mary Climacus Danaher, and Sister Mary Fabian Norton–taught in the church basement two years until the present brick building was completed. The Sisters’ unusual pioneering convent experience above Anderele’s store, with nothing but a three-cornered basin for a laundry, presented such a challenge that they later enjoyed reliving it in memory.

The gleam of better days came in September, 1915, when the Sisters moved from their improvised quarters into the new convent and school–a three-story brick building.

With the opening of the interparochial Regis High School in Cedar Rapids in 1958, St. Patrick High School at Fairfax was discontinued; and the majority of the eighth grade graduates attended Regis. In the fall of 1963, St. Patrick high school students transferred to the newly organized, co-institutional LaSalle High School in Cedar Rapids.

While the closing of St. Patrick High School provided additional classroom space for the grade-school pupils, the constantly growing enrollments again caused an overcrowding of classrooms. By fortunate coincidence the Fairfax public school was for sale at this time. The parish purchased the Fairfax building to house grades five through eight.

Four Sisters of Mercy and one lay teacher were in charge of the kindergarten through eighth grade with an enrollment of 145 students. Mrs. W. Gibney was the first lay teacher, teaching kindergarten in 1956. Father White, then pastor, had concentrated on the educational development of the parish. He had provided a central library and an adequate supply of audio-visual materials as a constant incentive to interest in reading and further study. A well-equipped and spacious playground and two parking lots afforded desirable physical education and play activities such as baseball and ice skating.

St. Patrick School closed, and students wishing to attend Catholic schools traveled to Cedar Rapids either by parent transportation or by busing provided by College Community School District to attend one of the Catholic schools on the west side. The school continued to be used for religious education classes. In the fall of 1999, the lower level of the school was renovated for a daycare and preschool center.

In 2015, the building was purchased by Daniel and Sandra Hurt and renovated and converted the space into luxury apartments. The building was named "School House Lofts" and features six units.

Source: Monsignor Thomas E. Toale, Ph. D. (2001). Go Forth and Teach: Continuing the Challenge. Dubuque, IA - Iowa: Loras College Press. Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Source: KCRG-TV9 - Samantha Meyers (August 2017). "Historic Fairfax School Converted into Luxury Apartments."

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