Bishop Joseph Strickland had about a dozen little helpers from St. Gregory Cathedral School to help him bless the site of the school’s newest construction project.
The Brodnax Family Crusader Center is the first step in a new 10-year master plan to transform Bishop T.K. Gorman Regional Catholic School.
The center will replace the school’s aging field house and offer state of the art amenities for students and families.
The center will be named for the major donors - the family of Brett and Allison Brodnax.
“The Brodnax family is just humbled to be here and part of this and be a very small part of this campaign,” Brodnax said. “The catholic school system and church has been central to my life.”
Brodnax said he was glad his family could help shape the future of his alma mater. He said the lessons he learned at Gorman prepared him for life.
Whenever he is asked why this project was so important to his family, he said he responds by telling them to take a walk through the facility next time they’re on campus.
“It wasn’t quite state of the art when I went through it three decades ago,” he said.
The ceremony Thursday also represented other milestones. Gorman’s last day of school also happened to be on the 25th anniversary of Bishop Edmond Carmody being named Bishop of the Tyler Diocese.
“The young people come here to learn and then we send them out to serve. That’s what’s important, how they serve,” Carmody said. “We warm ourselves in fires we never built and drink from wells we never dug. We all benefit from the work people did 60 years ago.”
Carmody said the new facility would lay the groundwork that will benefit students for generations to come.
The facility will include a new lobby and room for the drill, dance and cheer teams to practice, which can also function as a viewing area for film and for other extracurricular activities. The center also will feature an alumni room overlooking the football field and almost triple the current space for weights and training.
After Bishop Strickland and the students from St. Gregory blessed the old field house with holy water, students began their end of the year celebration. The staff set up paintball targets on the building and also let the students write messages on the outside walls.
Lisa Lujan, who helped guide the last leg of the four-year fundraising campaign, said she plans to host a funeral for the old field house when demolition begins.
Strickland said construction will likely begin in June and last nine to 10 months. He hopes to host an opening ceremony on the last day of the coming school year if construction goes smoothly.
Harris Craig architects designed the building and HGR Construction was named as the general contractor.
“Lisa mentioned a field house funeral,” Strickland said. “We are people of resurrection and we look forward to the resurrection of this field house as the Brodnax Family Crusader Center.”