Schools plan field-house additions - Catholic Courier

Schools plan field-house additions

Students at two Rochester Catholic schools soon will have more room to run, jump and work out, even when it’s raining or snowing outside.

Aquinas Institute and McQuaid Jesuit High School both are adding field houses to their campuses. McQuaid broke ground on its $5.2 million field house and blessed the South Clinton Avenue site at the end of September. Aquinas recently announced plans for a new $4.5 million field house on its Dewey Avenue campus and is awaiting project approval from the City of Rochester.

Each school’s field house — which will be paid for using capital-campaign funds — will have extra space for many sports, something officials at both schools say is desperately needed.

“We have a high enrollment, and our current gym was built in 1954,” said Francine Patella Ryan, marketing and communications director for McQuaid. “We can no longer accommodate the increasing numbers of students in physical education, sports practices and intramural games.”

Patella Ryan said McQuaid’s field house — the second addition to the campus since the school’s construction in 1954 — which will be located adjacent to the gym in the school’s north parking lot.

McQuaid’s capital campaign also included renovating the school’s gymnasium, the chapel and outside stadium bleachers. In addition to building the field house, renovations will be made to the 50-year-old locker rooms, shower and team rooms.

“Construction has started, and the game plan is to have this completed by the end of next summer,” Patella Ryan said.

On rainy days in the past, Aquinas’s track team pounded the hallways rather than the pavement, school officials said, noting that the new 55,000-square-foot field house will be connected to the existing gymnasium and will include a 200-meter indoor track. The field house will be utilized not only by sports teams but also by such groups as the step team and marching band as well as the community, officials said.

“It’s not just our teams and intramurals, but it’s for all students, and it’s an extension of our physical-education program and our strength and conditioning (program),” said Michael Daley, Aquinas president.

Seventy percent of all Aquinas students also are athletes, said Anthony Bianchi, athletic director. Daley said a lack of space has forced the school to stagger practices.

“A lot of students who play sports will be here until 9 p.m.,” Daley said.

Aquinas’s new field house will include three multipurpose hard-floor courts; indoor training space; retractable batting cages; an athletic trainer’s room and a meeting room; offices for the athletic department; and a 5,000-square-foot fitness center with new weight-training and cardiovascular machines, which will help protect athletes from injury, Bianchi said.

“This further helps us develop their lifelong fitness skills,” he said.

Daley noted that the school’s $9 million capital campaign has already raised $6 million, which fully funds the project. Once the project is approved, he said the school hopes to break ground by the end of February and complete work by the end of 2007.

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