Building projects bustin’ out all over

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The four diocesan Catholic schools are building, renovating and generally shaking up their surroundings, whether it's creating a whole new building or sprucing up the athletic fields. See what’s happening at each.

Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria

Bishop Ireton will break ground for its new academic center a few weeks after the students return. Head of School Tom Curry hopes the four-story structure will be open by fall of next year. The 40,000-square-foot building will include a new library, science labs and a new cafeteria that triples the size of the current dining hall.

Once the new building is finished, renovations to the existing building will be completed that winter. The old library, cafeteria and other rooms will become classrooms and administrative offices. 

The current student body numbers 800, and the new wing will allow the school capacity to grow to 925, said Curry. The school was founded in 1964 as an all-boys school, and then physically expanded in 1990 when it became co-ed. Curry believes the building project will be the largest Ireton has undertaken since then.

Paul VI Catholic High School, Fairfax

Paul VI broke ground on its new Loudoun County home in February, and the building is on schedule to be completed in 13 months, said Doug Gehley, senior architect on the project. The school hopes to open in the fall of 2020. Floor slabs have been poured and the majority of steel framing is in place for the academic and athletic buildings. In some places, drywall is going up.

Soon, the main bridge that spans the campus wetlands and connects the athletic building to the academic buildings will be built. Three major parking lots have been paved. “The beautifully detailed chapel trusses are in place and await the finished roof,” Gehley said.

Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School, Dumfries

The renovation of Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School’s two athletic fields in Dumfries has been a growing success. Earlier this summer, a practice field was sprigged with Bermuda grass seed, while the adjacent stadium field received fresh Bermuda sod.

According to athletic director Chris Vander Woude, the fields are on schedule to open by the first week in September. The stadium field’s 8-foot by 18-foot press box and 700-seat bleachers are in their final stage of county approval. They are scheduled to be installed in mid-September.

In addition to the two newly renovated fields, the high school will have access to the multipurpose fields at the Ali Krieger Sports Complex, which opened June 9. The diocese entered into an agreement with Prince William County to let the complex use the school’s parking lot while giving the high school access to the county fields for daytime practices and occasional home games.  

Bishop O’Connell High School, Arlington

In Arlington, Bishop O’Connell High School’s 60th anniversary construction project began in August with the demolition of the original convent for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. While 90 percent of the convent has been removed, a portion of the convent still stands as contractors and engineers decide on the best way to safely detach the remaining convent walls from the school wall.

According to construction Manager Jason Louis, this will not affect the beginning of phase two of the project — the creation of a front pedestrian plaza is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2019. The third phase involves a new main entrance and student commons, followed by the construction of a three-story academic building and new chapel scheduled to open fall 2020. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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