By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MONTGOMERY — Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School’s new gymnasium isn’t what MCPS President Anne Ceasar expected.
It’s much more.
“It’s beyond what I have prayed for, beyond what I could have hoped for, beyond what I could have envisioned,” Ceasar said.
The public got its first look at the sparkling new facility Aug. 11 at the dedication ceremony led by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi. The 33,000-square foot athletic complex seats more than 850 people. The gym’s size and two regulation-size basketball courts allows for the school to host tournaments and allows for multiple Knights athletic teams to practice at the same time.
It includes locker rooms, a weight room, conditioning center, multipurpose area, meeting rooms and coaches’ offices.
Pardon the pun, but it’s a game-changer for the school.
“I know our community is more than brick and mortar and this is just a physical representation of what we can be, but it’s going to fill us with so much spirit, so much life,” MCPS middle/high school principal Justin Castanza said. “I can’t wait to see our students get here.”
Maybe most importantly, it’s also air-conditioned — something that was missing from the school’s Father Pat Delahunty gymnasium and something that was appreciated at the dedication ceremony, which took place on a sweltering August afternoon.
“It was the only gym in the city that wasn’t air conditioned,” Ceasar said. “Everybody said ‘when are you going to air condition the gym? When are you going to air condition the gym?’ Now we’ve gone much further.”
During her remarks to a capacity crowd at the dedication, Ceasar thanked many people, as it took an entire community to come together and make the gymnasium a reality.
The school’s capital campaign “Building on Faith, Family and Tradition” raised more than $3.5 million in 11 months.
“This facility just shows how people of faith can come together and work for the glory of God,” Ceasar said. “This community deserves it. Our students deserve it. A dream has become a reality.”
Added Archdiocese of Mobile Executive Director of Catholic Education and Superintendent Gwen Byrd: “This is marvelous. This is wonderful. God made this happen.”
There’s also more to come. The original gymnasium is being converted into a climate-controlled performing arts building which will house the band, choral and drama departments. Renovation is ongoing and is expected to be finished this winter.
While the first day of school was Wednesday, Aug. 14, students got an early look at their new digs. That included seeing the impressive weight room.
“It’s the only time I’ve ever cried in a weight room that I’ll admit,” Castanza said.