Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School’s construction bonanza will continue for the foreseeable future with the announcement on Wednesday night that it will build a downtown athletic complex that includes a new stadium, practice field and parking lot.
CJ president Dan Meixner said the school has raised the $6 million to pay for the complex that will be located on the corner of Longworth and Eaker streets. He said a lead gift from Roger Glass, a 1960 alum and owner of his family’s business, Marion’s Piazza, allowed the school to fully-fund the project. The new stadium, scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, will bear Glass’s name.
“Ever since we developed what is now Blue Green Field in 2008, many of our community members have imagined a stadium in its place,” Meixner said. “Because of tremendous support, it is exciting to now make that dream a reality. This is something special.”
The new stadium continues CJ’s momentum to transform its downtown Dayton campus through new construction and improvements, including the Eagle Tennis Center in 2011, the CJ STEMM Center in 2013 and remodeling the gymnasium in 2014.
Dayton-based Shook Construction is the stadium’s general contractor, and the Cincinnati firm MSA Architects will serve as the design and architect team.
MSA Architects has more than 100 sports facilities and municipal projects in its portfolio, including renovations at Wright State University’s Nutter Center, the Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park and two of CJ’s rival schools — Moeller’s Gerry Faust Athletic Complex and LaSalle’s football stadium.
“I am extremely excited to be part of this historical effort by the CJ community and to take part in the overall elevation of our campus,” Glass said. “I am proud for what CJ is already accomplishing, and for what these advancements will mean for our students and the Dayton community.”
City leaders say CJ’s growing footprint is important to the downtown region. Fueled by supportive fundraising, the once landlocked CJ has strengthened its position by pushing forward with expansions and developing several parcels of vacant land it owns.
“They have been investing in the south side of downtown in a very meaningful way,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “They are bringing high school students downtown and making them an active part of the community.”
In February, CJ appeared before the Dayton Plan Board to request the consolidation of several city lots — a vacation of Scott Street, a small side street cutting through the school’s parcels — to make way for it to develop. The request, which was granted, allows the school to add as many as 176 new spaces on land between West Washington Street and the U.S. 35 ramp, according to city records.
“They are a real important anchor to that southern edge of downtown,” said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton’s assistant city manager. “Seeing investment there, and bringing more campus amenities, is a great win-win.”
Wednesday’s news comes after the private Catholic school announced in January a $2.5 million renovation of Building One, its oldest building and a familiar landmark at the corner of Franklin and Ludlow streets.
The building is actually made up of three attached structures built in the 1950s and 1960s.
The earliest building, Building One, starts at the corner of Ludlow and Washington streets and stretches north for a half-block.
That work was made possible through CJ’s Leading in Faith Today fundraising effort. CJ officials say they received another $3.1 million via the LIFT campaign in the past year, giving them $18.5 million of their multiyear goal of $20 million.
In 2011, the school’s campus expanded to 15 acres, with CJ having bought and demolished nearby business buildings and homes over some seven years. At one point, the old DP&L steam plant and its landmark smoke stack were given to the school and leveled. Buildings on Scott, Washington and Perry streets were bought. A 25,000-square-foot student conditioning center and a “Blue Green Field” were opened.
The mayor said CJ remains a key part of the greater downtown plan, and the school chose to stay in downtown after deciding an urban campus would benefit its students.
CJ consistently ranks highly as a school where students can receive a quality education, which shows the potential of urban learning environments, Whaley said.
Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said CJ brings students, parents, teachers, friends and family downtown, and the school’s impressive commitment to upgrading its urban campus means it will remain as a destination for years to come.
“It’s a tribute to their legacy as an educational institution, but also to their commitment to downtown,” she said.
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