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St. Norbert College 125: Built for success

Vintage photo
The 1902-03 school year opened with much anticipation, with a new $40,000 building. Work on the facility was not completed, however, until months later. SNC archives

By Kris Leonhardt


Continued from previous week

On the first Tuesday of September in 1900, the college opened for the second school year with a new dormitory providing accommodations for “lay students.”

The fathers also purchased a billiards table from the Business Men’s association for student recreation.

The following spring, the Premonstratensian fathers began planning a $25,000, three-story brick building on the east bank of the Fox River which would include a gymnasium, billiard and reading room, recreation hall, five classrooms and a second-floor dormitory.

However, setbacks in opening bids on the project delayed the laying of foundation, and completion was pushed out to spring.

A March 15, 1902, Green Bay Semi-Weekly Gazette article announced the return to work on the new building that spring.

“The walls of St. Norbert College are being slowly raised from the foundations which were laid last season. The masons were put to work on the walls some days ago, and with a few interruptions the work is expected to continue during the summer, when the building will be enclosed. The new college will take the place of the old one established some years ago, and will be a very pretentious building,” the article read.

The cornerstone was laid on March 21 by the bishop and 20 Catholic clergy from the surrounding area.

The ceremony kicked off with a solemn procession at St. Joseph’s Church, which moved to the school and on to the blessing of the stone, with several documents placed inside.

By May, crews were already working on the third story of the building.

In September, with the school planned to open, crews were not quite finished with work on the building.

The Sept. 11 school opening date was pushed out to Sept. 18.

The new school year opened with much anticipation — a new $40,000 building and a football team that was expected to outshine all others in the area.

The final work on the building was not completed until months later.

“The dome of St. Norbert’s College has been completed and puts the finishing touch to this massive building,” a Nov. 4 Green Bay Semi-Weekly Gazette article stated.

“The college is now considered one of the most up-to-date institutions for young students in this state and the enrollment at the institutions is becoming larger each week so that in the course of a short time it will rank in the class with the much larger colleges.”

Continued in next week’s edition

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