A HISTORY OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST CATHOLIC PARISH

Expansion

The first years of expansion at St. John’s found pastor Lefko a leader admirably suited to the task. Having formulated creative plans for a new school according to modern patterns, Fr. Lefko prepared for a graduate degree at the University of Indiana shortly before his appointment as pastor. Envisioning a new school, Fr. Lefko issued a brief announcement in the Paranews of June 20, 1948: ‘Work on the new school begins this week.’

A. M. Strauss is shown here on the left and Roy E. Clark, Jr. on the right

SJBHistory_strauss_18      SJBHistory_royeclark_19

SJBHistory_schoolconstruction1_22Plans were carefully drawn up. The new school would not interfere with the present school building. Less than a month later, the old gym was demolished, excavation for the new building rapidly following July 11th, 1948. In the Paranews, the planned school was referred to as ‘The School of Tomorrow‘. A. M. Strauss was selected as the architect, Roy Clark, Jr. was the builder and Howard C. Buckel the superintendent.

The school is shown here under construction in 1949. While outside professionals were retained, much project work was done by skilled parishioners.

Assistants changed again. Fr. Ernst moving on to Pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Father John Blasick was appointed assistant and arrived in April of 1949.

SJBHistory_quonset_21The school was finished in 1950, solemnly dedicated by Bishop Noll as the St. John Parochial Center on March 5th. Tours and inspections were made available. Those first tours of the center were thrilling to those that participated. The building was planned as a facility that could accomodate many different activities for the parish seven days a week from 8:30am to midnight.

In May 1951, the top-floor convent was completed as was the Quonset Gym. It was erected on the site of the present parish home. A Paranews item read stated that the building was intended to be built at minimum cost with no pretention.