By JENNY KOPF
For The Catholic Week
FAIRHOPE — In a simple ceremony April 9, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi led those present in a prayer and blessing before signing the contract to begin construction of the St. Michael Catholic High School Field House.
The field house is the second phase of a multiphased capital development plan, made possible by an athletic campaign last year that raised $5.1 million in pledges over a five-year period. The first phase targeted the purchase of 40 acres of adjacent property north and west of the school, giving the school a total of 80 acres for future development.
The 10,000-square foot facility will include a weight room, male and female locker rooms, bath and shower facilities, coaches’ offices, a physical trainer’s office, a multi-use room, a laundry room and storage. The weight room will have a large back door that opens out to a second practice field. Site work for this practice field has already begun.
Future phases will include a football/soccer stadium, a baseball field, concessions, rest rooms and additional parking. A visual of the athletic complex, when complete, can be reviewed here.
Archbishop Rodi blessed the site with holy water, praying: “May this building be a blessing to all those who use it, and may God’s protection and grace be with those involved in its construction.”
The signing ceremony followed. The construction is expected to take seven months, finishing some time in November.
“The addition of this field house will be a godsend,” said Athletic Director Paul Knapstein, smiling afterward. “The locker rooms, the athletic training rooms, the state of the art weight room, the coaches’ offices — all of it — will really help our coaches and student-athletes, who have worked in confined spaces since we started.”
Principal Faustin Weber added: “So we will continue to build these athletic facilities, a piece at a time, as the pledges are paid. It’ll be fun to see the complex unfold! But we’re already dreaming about a chapel, next up in the school’s master plan, placed at the epicenter of the campus, a visible symbol of our school’s foundation in the Catholic faith.
“We want students to become ‘scholars, leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ.’ If we are boldly faithful to that, I believe our community will continue to be generous to us, and God will continue to bless our growth.”
By JENNY KOPF