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The new St. Edward High School addition will include a two-story dining area and an outdoor eating space. The goal is to create a ‘family room’ for students.

Something new will soon be on the menu for St. Edward High School students, including an entirely new dining experience.

A $6.8 million addition to the front of St. Edward High School on Detroit Avenue will house a new dining and banquet hall called the Marilyn and David Palisin Commons. It will be ready in August, just in time for the 2020-21 school year, according to Associate Vice President of Buildings and Grounds John Goers.

David Palisin graduated from St. Edward in 1964 and died last September at age 72. He and his wife helped lead the “Courage to Act Campaign,” which was launched in 2016 to raise $22 million to help the school build the commons, ensure tuition was affordable and create the Joseph and Helen Lowe Institute for Innovation. The Rocky River couple challenged the community to donate $1.5 million to the project and matched every dollar donated.

Regency Construction Management of Brook Park is overseeing the project and is in the process of finishing the new addition’s interior, which will include an entire wall lined with 55-inch TVs and a mural that will greet students as they enter. The section will also include an outdoor dining area that crews are expected to wrap in mid-July, Goers said.

The 16,800-square-foot, two-story dining and lounging addition will offer up to 500 students three different dining options. This includes a pizzeria called Piazza, a Chipotle-style restaurant called Agave, and Fusion, which will serve burgers and specialty foods each day.

“This is going to become the family room of the campus,” said Principal KC McKenna. “This building is a commitment to hospitality and having a place where the community gathers.”

The second-floor mezzanine, which will feature a large tunnel-style fireplace in the middle of the room, can also be used as informal classrooms for a more relaxed learning experience, Goers said.

“We wanted to make sure we could allow our students a chance to relax every now and then,” he said. “School today is not like what it was when I went to school. These students have a lot on their plate and hopefully we can alleviate some of that stress.”

The project also provides a functional purpose for the school. The building will serve as a new entrance, as well as a connector to the school’s athletic department from the main building via a second-floor entrance. The building will also include a respite for residents of Lakewood who walk along Detroit Avenue with recycled furniture and potted flowers facing the street.

Work began last summer on this, the first major addition to the campus in more than 10 years. The dining hall and mezzanine will replace the school’s current basement 1949 cafeteria.

Since students have not been in school since March, school officials hope this project will be a nice surprise for them in the fall.

“We’re very excited to get this finished,” McKenna said. “This is going to be a significant improvement to what their overall student experience has been.”

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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