Campus construction means long-term benefits, short-term impact

Sabre Construction
Construction on the new Center for Performance and Leadership began this spring. (Photo by Riley Langan ’21)

This spring, St. John’s began construction on the new Center for Performance and Leadership, a project that is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.

The project encompasses the idea of leadership in all aspects of St. John’s student life. This addition to the athletic complex will include a sports medicine suite, a turf room, a crew training room, locker rooms, offices, student and alumni lounges, and the Athletic Hall of Fame. Part of the complex will include dedicated areas for the Entrepreneurial Center and the Cadet Corps Leadership program.

As the school year goes on, many smaller parts of the project will be completed, such as the already finished HVAC unit in Gallagher Gym. According to Brother Paul, the main goal throughout the project is to not disrupt the many games, teams, and training sessions that take place during the school year.

While this will be a welcome addition for students once finished, it does pose a disturbance to the grounds while the project is in progress. Brother Paul said, “This is a live construction site and the main priority of St. John’s is the safety of the students. Unless students have a reason such as sports, class, or a meeting that takes place in the gym complex, they shouldn’t be in that part of campus. Students are advised to spend free periods and time after school in areas such as the student walkway or Cassidy Commons.”

Because this project will take place throughout the school year, it affects a section of the parking lot and the students parking there. In the past, Quinn Field has been used as parking overflow for the few excess cars that couldn’t fit in the parking lot; now, there are many more cars on the field. However, the field is also still in use almost every day after school for practices and games. Students are advised to carpool or take public transportation whenever possible.

If you do have to park on Quinn Field, make sure to move your car off the field immediately after school. Brother Paul advises students to “set a reminder on your phone to move your car directly after the last bell! It is our responsibility to support our St. John’s teams, and if cars aren’t moved, it may result in towing them. That would only be after receiving more than one notice on your car, or not responding to calls from administration. We will do our best to move traffic out as quickly as possible, as many of you have tests or activities.”

Although students are understanding of the situation, it also causes changes to morning routines and adds stress to after-school schedules. “I have to leave my house around 7:15 am versus last year when I would get to leave around 7:35-7:40 am and still be able to grab a spot during the field hockey season,” said Genevieve Lombardo ’20.

For some students, the excitement for what’s coming outweighs the inconvenience of the project now. Gabe Salazar ‘21 said, “It will get better over time, and in the end we’ll have a better gym and new equipment. It could be worse.”

The coaches, teachers, and trainers who normally have plenty of breathing room in the gym are now tucked into every corner of available space. Yet, in true St. John’s fashion, they are working together to make the best of the situation. Mr. Griffin, SJC athletic director, said, “It will be worth our wait as the project is completed during these next nine months, and therefore we are ‘making it work’ for athletics in every way, shape and form. As with anything we do at St. John’s, there is a focus on the future with faith, hope, and love in terms of staying positive, being resilient, and finishing what we have started.”

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