HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saint Louis School doesn't just want its football team to win state titles and practice in state of the art facilities.
Earlier this morning, Saint Louis School broke ground on the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Center to house the school's physical education and athletics programs. The center is scheduled to open in 2019.
"We've been talking about this a long time and finally, we're able to have a celebration as we did this morning," said June Jones, Director of Athletic Programs and Development at Saint Louis School.
The long-awaited center was planned back in 2012 and construction will begin after today's ceremony following a $7.5 million donation for the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation - the foundation's biggest ever donation.
"Not a lot of people now that Clarence T.C. Ching graduated from Saint Louis College, as it was called beforehand," said Glenn Medeiros, President of Saint Louis School. "We were just honored. We have a great history in athletics and we are just looking forward to having this new athletic center."
The new facility will house the school's health and fitness programs, inter-school athletics, school assemblies and a portion of its historical collection.
The facility, at 23,400 square feet, will house the following:
- 1,400-seat main sports court for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, school-wide assemblies, and hula performances.
- Large group multi-purpose room.
- Heritage Hall and Hall of Fame, highlighting Saint Louis' legacy of notable sportsmen.
- Memorial to Clarence T. C. Ching, 1932 graduate and renowned philanthropist.
- Offices for physical education and athletics programs.
Medeiros said that the facility won't just benefit Saint Louis School, as it will also benefit Chaminade University.
"For many years, we've been sharing this same gym," he said.
After the Crusaders won back-to-back state titles in football over the past two years, the school wants its other athletic programs to follow suit.
"This is a private school, you got to compete," Jones said. "The other private schools in the area have all the facilities and have everything. St. Louis has been winning state championships with not what everyone else has. And that says a lot about the people here. I'm excited to be apart of it. It keeps me grounded and the kids, seeing them today, they're special. And really, every young son should think about going to St. Louis high school."
As the ground-breaking ceremony went on, students and faculty in attendance learned about the history behind Clarence T.C. Ching's experiences as a student as Saint Louis. They also learned about the legacy and love he left behind for future students of the school.
"We know he's looking down on us right now," Medeiros said with a smile.