What the new Gym/Events Center will do for Our Lady of the Lake Parish School

Earlier this week, members of the Wedgwood Land Use Committee met with members of Our Lady of the Lake Parish School’s Building Committee for the new Gym and Event Center, which we wrote about last week.  The meeting was intended to learn more about the project, what it entails, and how it will benefit the parish and school so we can share this with the community.

According to the school’s project website, the purpose of the project is:

“…to build a ‘Gym/Event Center’ which will better serve the growing needs of both the Our Lady of the Lake parish and school. The hope is to offer a facility with a renovated kitchen, better lighting and sound system, additional restrooms, and a place where CYO athletic games can at last be played. Overall, it offers a place with greater versatility as well as aesthetic and appealing aspects which reflect the growth happening within the OLL parish and school.”

While this is all true, the project would provide daily benefits to the school’s daily operation.  We’ve attempted to provide the additional, secondary advantages of this project below, as they were explained to us:

  • The gym/events center will have 2 sliding partitions that will allow the new space to be divided into three separate spaces to accommodate multiple activities at once OR provide a single space large enough for the whole parish or school to meet in one space, which neither the school or church facilities currently allows.
  • A multi-purpose room and kitchen within the new gym/events center can provide the school a space large enough to serve as an adjunct cafeteria for the whole school to eat together.  Currently, students eat in their individual class rooms.
  • At the same time, the full size gym allows for improved scheduling of PE classes and the capabilities of supporting either multiple basketball practices or basketball league games.
  • The new gym/events center will provide improved lighting and sound capabilities for the school’s drama program as well as provide necessary storage space to accommodate the miscellaneous equipment that is stored on the stage due to the lack of storage.
  • The new gym/events center has a 20 foot setback from the existing fence-line along NE 89th Street.  The City’s landscaping and screening requirements will result in numerous trees and other vegetation planted between the new building and street while still providing safe pedestrian access from upper and lower (east to west) campus.  This will also result in a slight decrease of existing net impervious surfaces.
  • Pedestrian access and safety along NE 89th Street will be improved, although the exact configuration of the sidewalks and/or walkways is still to be determined.

During our meeting, we were able to tour the inside of the existing gym.  The space is most certainly undersized for the events that occur at the school and the equipment used by the drama program is without a doubt antiquated.  Photos from our visit in the gym have been added to our photo album, below.  With this said, the WCC and its land use committee are not advocating for or against this project.  However, we wanted to learn more about the project in order to better educate the surround community about its purpose.

We are still interested in hearing your thoughts on this project.  If you’re excited about it, then you can donate to the project’s capital campaign HERE (there’s a $50,000 match grant challenge running through February 15th). If you’re not necessarily excited, we’d love to hear your comments below.

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