Here we Grow Again!
The Christmas season is always a special time of the year! Over the holidays, Bishop Dwenger was approached by two very generous donors who have expressed a great interest in improving their school in two different, and very significant, ways. Their generosity is so substantial that two new projects have been initiated: a Stadium and Performing Arts Center.
Project One: Stadium to Surround Shields Field
After much research, it looks as though having their own stadium on campus could possibly become a reality. Dwenger is in the preliminary design stages for a stadium which would include: bleachers on the home side (closest to school) to accommodate 2,500 fans, a larger press box, as well as visitor bleachers for 500 on the opposite side of the field. Under the bleachers, they will build a new concessions area, larger bathrooms, and hopefully, two team rooms. The plans include a new entrance, featuring a ticket booth, and updated fencing surrounding the facility. Initial numbers for the stadium are coming in just under $2 million for the complete project. Their goal, providing all plans are approved by the City, and the necessary funding is in place, they hope to have the stadium operative and open in early fall. “We are so excited about the possibilities this new project will create for our school,” notes John Bennett, Athletic Director. “Being able to host our home football games on campus will be great. Additionally, we will be able to host both the men and women home soccer games, rugby, and lacrosse. The Marching Band and Color Guard will also benefit from this proposed facility.” Shields Field is a state-of-the-art turf playing surface and this stadium enables the school to utilize the field more frequently and in a myriad of ways.
Project Two: Performing Arts Center and Traditions Hall
As their Performing Arts Program continues to grow in numbers and talent, they find themselves in need of a true auditorium. “For years, we have been intrigued by the vacant theater in the Northcrest Shopping Center (just south of campus on Clinton) and have been imagining all of the potential that facility has, not only for our arts department, but the entire school, and surrounding community” comments Jason Schiffli, Principal of Bishop Dwenger High School. “Right now, we use our gymnasium for all of our band, chorale, and theater productions.” Although likely to be a much longer-term project, and perhaps completed in phases, the initial thoughts and plans are already taking shape. One side of the facility would become an auditorium with projected seating for 300 - 400 spectators. The other side would become a multi-purpose facility that could be utilized for countless activities, practices, and special events. In the middle of the two areas, a nice reception-gathering space would be available. “Even with a campus of our size, we are perpetually running out of space to meet, practice, and perform. A space like this would be spectacular for our musical and theatrical students; and benefit the school as a whole,” shares Christy Maloney, Music Department Chair.
School administrators are cautiously optimistic about both of these projects coming to fruition. As the cost of the stadium is less than the cost to overhaul the theater (potentially a $3-5 million project), it is likely that the stadium will be completed in advance of the Performing Arts Center. There is still much research and planning that needs to be done for the theater project. It is essential to ensure that the dreams they have for the building are attainable, both from structure and financial perspectives. “If the building can be transformed to fulfill our needs at a cost lower than starting from the ground up, we will continue to move forward,” says Schiffli.
“The Bishop Dwenger Family has always answered the call for help, financial and otherwise; they want to improve the high school experience for all of our Saints,” comments Katie Burns, Director of Development. “Yes, we are on the tail end of completing our last capital campaign (which included more than $8.4 million in improvements to the campus), but we are confident there will be much interest from our alumni, as well as our current and past families, to ensure the success of these projects over time, just like they so generously supported this past campaign. Certainly, we are blessed with these two extremely generous donors who are making major contributions to these two projects, but we have lots of fundraising ahead of us.We know that the collective Dwenger Family will make it happen. That’s how a family works!”