On the move
By JUDY SHERARD
The doors are closing on a chapter of Thomas More Prep-Marian High School history.
Friday was moving day as staff, students, alumni and parents moved beds, dressers, desks and other items from Marian Hall to the third-floor wing of Hadley Center.
The building at 13th and Fort the school had been renting from St. Joseph parish for the girls' dormitory first served as a convent of the Sisters of St. Agnes.
"The last of the Sisters of St. Agnes have served here in Hays," TMP Principal Kathy Taylor said. "It's kind of like the end of both things, and it's sad.
Electrical deficiencies at Marian Hall necessitated the move.
"You know if the girls are safer, that's all that matters," Taylor said.
Taylor estimated 30 to 40 volunteers showed up to help with the move.
"We've had more help than I expected," said Michelle Fairbank, director of resident life.
Junior Nick Hernandez and Kaleb Stark, an alumnus, heard help was needed, so they volunteered. The two made a number of trips in the Hadley freight elevator.
"There's a lot of memories in this place," said Brandi Mathis, head resident advisor.
This is her fourth year as an RA, but first as head RA.
"I've seen the new facilities, and I'm really excited about the potential that it has there to be better than we have here and offer better accommodations," she said.
Friday's move was just the beginning.
"Getting it over there is just half of it," Mathis said. "We have to set up the new facility."
There will be some changes in the new facility such as just one washer and dryer.
"They're not used to that, but we'll just make it work," Fairbank said.
Saturdays will be laundry day at the boys' dorm, and there's a laundromat across the street. The 25 girls who will live in the dorm this semester will share rooms.
Overall, the facility has gotten positive reviews.
"Everybody I've brought up here are just so happy with how bright and cheery it is," Fairbank said.
The rooms have been assigned, and the names are posted outside each door.
Residents are coming from Nepal, Mexico, Korea, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Rwanda and Kansas.
Fairbank was thankful so many showed up to help with the move.
"We've got to be ready. The new girls come Tuesday," she said.
TMP delayed moving in, Taylor said.
Ellis County's plans to lease temporary office space were changed because of unease about the students sharing the center with some of the Ellis County spaces.
"We were set to move in earlier in the week, and we didn't get permission from the bishop until yesterday morning that we could actually move," Taylor said.
County officials and staff have been "absolutely wonderful," Taylor said.
"They shared our concern that this would not be a good situation for minor girls," she said.
"They had a meeting Monday. We weren't part of that meeting. We just prayed and prayed and prayed it was going to be favorable to our outcome. If that would not have come out the way it did, our bishop would not have let us move in, and we would have had to scramble for a new location in a very short time because the girls were coming."