Prep Breaks Ground for its new Physical Education and Art Education Centers
On Sunday, June 13th, St. Francis Prep broke ground for the new Coach Vince O’Connor Physical Education and Athletic Training Center and a new Art Education Center.
Brother Leonard Conway OSF, Principal of the Prep, told a gathering of over 100 alumni benefactors, staff, and friends, "We have been looking forward to this day for quite a while now. We started the process of planning for our major Capital Improvement Program a little over three years ago when we retained the services of Tritec Building Company to oversee the overall project, including selection of an architectural firm and then the Phase I infrastructure upgrading (heating, air-conditioning, electrical) that was completed last fall.”
Brother Leonard continued, "Perkins Eastman was ultimately selected as the architectural firm in the spring of 2007 and they began the task of planning and designing what would eventually become a $30 million long-term Master Plan for the school—a plan that is still very much intact and that included some $9 million in Phase I infrastructure improvements, and now includes the start of Phase II with today’s groundbreaking for our Physical Education and Art Education Centers. Phase II will also include major technology upgrades, a key element of which will be the installation of a SmartBoard in every classroom.”
Brother added, "Future phases include a new building that will house our science and music programs, while the final ‘piece of the puzzle’ involves creating a new front entranceway to the school with new administrative offices and a large chapel that will become the focal point of all our endeavors.”
A key component of the financing plan for this project has been a major capital campaign that was originally inaugurated at Prep’s 150th Anniversary Gala in Brooklyn on October 4, 2008. There was a very auspicious start to the campaign at that time, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of several families and individuals.
However, last year’s economic uncertainties forced the school to adjust the campaign timetable and the building and renovation plans. According to Brother Leonard though, "We are now ready to begin the campaign anew, and I am very pleased to announce The Campaign for St. Francis Prep--The Next 150--our renewed effort that will build upon the more than $5 million that has already been committed toward our long-term goal of at least $15 million.”
Key Leadership Donors and Members of the Campaign Council include alumni Vincent and Paulette Toscano, Joseph Walker, John Brown, and, most notably, Peter Callahan, whose generosity will help establish the Coach Vince O’Connor Physical Education and Athletic Training Center.
This state-of-the-art facility will honor and recognize Vince O’Connor’s 55+ years of dedicated service to thousands of student athletes at St. Francis Prep, and the Franciscan Brothers, the faculty and staff, alumni and friends are all very pleased by this prospect.
The school also announced that the fully renovated Football Training Facility that will be part of this new Physical Education and Athletic Training Center will be named for the Prep’s former assistant coach Frank Nastro.
The school’s new Art Education Center will be located at the top of the west wing of the building complex, in the former convent, which has now been completely gutted to make ready for this modern, one-of-a kind, 8,000 square foot facility that will house the full-range of nearly 30 visual and fine arts programs--more than any high school in the area.
St. Francis Prep, overseen by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, recently concluded its 150th Anniversary Year celebrations and remains the largest, private, Catholic high school in the country with over 2700 students. Over 99% of this year’s graduating class will attend college in the fall, including three who received appointments to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.