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St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy: School poised to build its first gym

Principal Chris Chirieleison shows where St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy is going to build a 16,000 square foot gymnasium and activities center. The project is scheduled to be complete in February of 2015.
Principal Chris Chirieleison shows where St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy is going to build a 16,000 square foot gymnasium and activities center. The project is scheduled to be complete in February of 2015. CDT photo

Come February, coach Richard Ciambotti will have a new facility for his boys basketball team to call home.

Construction workers from Christopher Kunes General Contracting will break ground July 23 on a 16,000-square-foot gymnasium at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy — the school’s first gym.

Ciambotti, who also is the school’s assistant athletic director, said it’s been a long time coming for the athletic department in its second year of competing in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

“We’re excited; the kids are excited,” Ciambotti said. “It’s practical for what we need. There are a million advantages to having it, and we’re just looking forward to having a place to call home.”

The gym will be along the Belle Avenue side of the campus, at 901 Boalsburg Pike in Boalsburg.

Principal Christopher Chirieleison said the new gym is being built to provide a “more robust and complete” college preparatory high school experience for students and families.

“Our new gymnasium will serve as an additional environment in which we can teach our students lessons about faith, scholarship, leadership, service,” Chirieleison said.

The gym will be used for athletic events, religious services and social activities and be open to the community for special events, Chirieleison said.

“As a Catholic college preparatory high school and faith community, we are committed to forming the next generation of leaders through excellence in scholarship, personal discipline, accountability and integrity,” Chirieleison said. “The gymnasium will provide us with additional opportunities and a new environment in which to accomplish this important work.”

The cost of the facility is still being determined, but Chirieleison said the school has started a capital campaign to raise funds.

The school’s board of trustees has been discussing the need for a gymnasium since it opened in the fall of 2011, Chirieleison said.

In February, school officials began meeting with potential builders and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown to determine the scope and sequence of the project, Chirieleison said.

Christopher Kunes Co., architect Albert Drobka and PennTerra Engineering are all part of the project.

“It presents itself to so many more opportunities,” Ciambotti said. “It’s something necessary to have for the high school program and to attract kids. It’s huge for us.”

His basketball team used facilities at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church and C3 Sports through Christ Community Church in State College, where home games were played.

“It’s a place that will be accessible for everyone,” Ciambotti said.

Volleyball and wrestling teams also will use the new gym for games and matches.

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