Holy Cross, Central expansion nears completion
By ROBERT R. JONES III
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Holy Cross Elementary School and Central Catholic High School have completed three phases of a four-building expansion designed to benefit its spiritual and academic missions for the next 50 years.
With two buildings completed, a third, the Competitive Gymnasium, nearly done and a new church Life Center slated for completion next year, this is the first major expansion at the school since 1980, when the mall was constructed.
A blessing and dedication is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the new Competitive Gymnasium.
Bishop Sam Jacobs will preside over the blessing and dedication of the three buildings and be present during recognition of the major donors and building committees.
Burt Adams, chairman of the Vision 2012 Campaign, planning for the $10.3 million expansion project started when the Very Rev. Danny Poche’ and Deacon/CCHS Principal Vic Bonnaffee arrived seven years ago and began the strategic plan to upgrade school and church facilities.
“For the past six years, Holy Cross and Central Catholic High School have been envisioning a strategy to meet the spiritual, intellectual and physical needs of this community for the next 50 years,” Bonnaffee said.
“To fulfill that plan, we had to address the need for additional facilities,” he said. “I would have never dreamed when I returned to Central Catholic seven years ago that this massive expansion would have been possible. I am grateful to the benefactors and donors who helped to accomplish Vision 2012 to meet the needs of our students.”
Maria Barbier, Holy Cross Community Capital Campaign coordinator, said the needs of the church, high school and elementary school were identified about three years ago and the public phase of the capital campaign was kicked off in January 2011.
Adams said construction was started in May 2011 and the library and classrooms were completed in April.
The gym is also substantially complete, with the finishing touches being put on the lobby.
The Life Center at Holy Cross Catholic Church should be completed by next summer.
The Life Center will be utilized for many church and school activities and functions, including but not limited to ministry gatherings, celebrations, senior citizens’ meals, religion classes, youth ministries, and parish and school meetings, Adams said.
The facility will also be used for school assemblies, pageants, drama club productions, graduations, fine art presentations and concerts.
The new library will serve both schools, he said.
The library was designed with one side to serve Central Catholic and the other to serve Holy Cross with a central librarian’s station in the middle for both schools.
The library offers a new media center and technology labs.
The six new classrooms will mainly serve fourth through sixth grade.
Barbier said the new classrooms were much needed to provide elementary grade levels permanent classrooms.
“The new classrooms will be mainly used for Holy Cross Elementary because they had a fire and needed classrooms, so they were in temporary buildings,” she said. “Aiden Hall, a former convent (recently demolished), was built in the late 1940s or early 1950s and could not be economically renovated to meet building or disability codes.”
Addressing the need for the new Competitive Gym, Adams said the old gym was constructed in a time when there were only three or four high school sports.
Currently, both schools host 18 sports across high school, junior varsity and junior high school teams.
“We ran out of time and space, so the new gym allows better time usage and practice scheduling,” he said.
“In general, competitive games and some practice will be in the new gym. Practices and P.E. will still be in the old gym. It will allow us to better divide up time and usage. The old gym will still be fully utilized because we definitely need both,” he said.
During rainy periods, the new gym will allow additional space if Holy Cross students need to remain indoors concurrent with high school students, Adams said.
Adams said he was impressed at the level of cooperation between the Holy Cross Catholic Church, Central Catholic High School and Holy Cross Elementary School.
“This is a $10.3 million project for our entire community,” he said. “Holy Cross Church, Holy Cross Elementary School and Central Catholic High School have come together to do this project. To get two schools and a church to work together for the last two and a half or three years is a remarkable achievement. And I believe this is the largest capital improvement of this type in our parish this century.”