Campaign launched to raise $1 million for new school gym

This architect's rendering shows the $5.5 million sports hall St. Ignatius Catholic School plans to construct.

St. Ignatius Catholic School is hoping to raise $1 million in the next 18 months as the final financial piece in constructing a $5.5 million gymnasium, officials said.

The other $4.5 million needed is in place, and school officials hope to break ground on the two-story, 23,000-square-foot sports complex sometime in the next two months.

The gym will be the largest project ever undertaken by the school and will include a basketball court, which can also be used for other sports and community activities, as well as 10 classrooms on its second floor, one of which will be used for drama classes.

The Rev. Suresh Rajaian, head of St. Ignatius, said the building will also benefit the community at large.

When needed, he said, “We are going to turn it into a hurricane shelter, because we do not have enough hurricane shelters on the island.”

He said he also expected community groups would use the gym for evening sports practice. Church functions and even dances may be held there, he said.

“We have been serving the community for 47 years,” he added. “It is our community.”

The gym is designed primarily as a space for physical education and organized practices, but does have seating capacity for 300-500 people, the Rev. Rajaian said.

The new space, particularly new classroom space, will also allow for new uses of existing space on the campus, he said. A brochure on the project says it will include such things as art, drama and dance space, a computer lab, an additional science lab, a media center, a sixth-form study area and room for after-school care.

The brochure also says that top donors will be recognized by having their names engraved on plaques that will be attached to a “giving tree” that will be installed in the new building.

The Rev. Rajaian said plans for the new gym are currently under review by the government. He’s anxious for approval of the plans.

“Once the plans are in my hand,” he said, “immediately, we will break ground.”

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