Everything You Need to Know About the New Student Center

With a projected move-in date of Fall 2020, the 32,000 square foot Student Center will have several new amenities for faculty, staff, and even alumni, but all of this is drawing mixed opinions from the students.

The new Student Center will be replacing the current union, which was built in 1972 when CHS enrollment was less than 700. The first floor of the Student Center will be twice the size of the current union and will be able to serve the growing student population, roughly 1200 students.

CHS broke ground last March. Students, faculty, and alumni all gathered for “Demo Day,” where they broke ground and took down the house on the lot. It also was the kickoff for the public phase of “Advancing the Mission” which is the capital campaign to raise money for the project. The campaign seeks to transform the campus with the Student Center being the first phase of the $40 million master plan.

Construction officially started in June, and the projected move-in date is Fall 2020. Once complete, the new Student Center will be dedicated in memory of Brother Donnan Berry, S.C., who was a teacher at CHS for two years and principal for ten years. He later returned in 1980, establishing the CHS Development Office. The Development Office is now the Office of Advancement, which runs alumni, Public Relations, and projects like the Student Center.

Catholic High wanted a unique design for the new Student Center so they selected Scott Ritter and Steve Maher, both alumni, to design it. They wanted to create a “dynamic environment where students will dine, socialize, learn and interact with faculty.” This goal led the architects to plan several amenities in the Student Center for both the faculty and staff.

Outside of the Student Center, there will be a “Student Commons” featuring a Student Pavilion with tables for dining and socializing. Around the Student Pavilion, there will be 11 “mission pillars” which will have a phrase on each pillar that Catholic High stands by, like Sanctuary, Academic Excellence, and Gospel Values.

The first floor is where the new Student Union will be located which will seat up to 650 people. In comparison, the older cafeteria can only hold up to 600. It will also feature a larger kitchen, “enabling a greater variety of food options.”

Upstairs, on the second floor, students will be greeted with the sight of the student terrace and the student gallery which will boast panoramic views of the building and foliage outside. Next to the Student Gallery, will be the Campus Ministry Center which will be used for prayer, religious studies, and community service coordination.

There will be multiple study rooms and collaboration rooms that can be used by both faculty and staff. Adjacent to that will be four classrooms, a new Faculty Work Center, and a terrace for faculty.

The campaign goal for the new center is $13.5 million. As of December, $8.49 million have been raised.

Generally, students at CHS are more than excited for the new Student Center. Mason Page, a Junior at CHS says that “My favorite part is the study rooms because it is a great way to get homework done.” With the Student Center replacing the Union, he was asked if he would miss the old union. “No, I won’t because it was becoming outdated and with the size of the school, we were outgrowing it and it was starting to feel very small.”

However, the senior class won’t be able to experience it, and some aren’t too happy. Senior Sean Dunn said that “I was upset at first, but I don’t care as much anymore because I am ready to leave and start college.” When asked if he would come back and visit, he said “I think I will, because from the pictures it looks really cool.”

The new Student Center is a big advancement for the school, which has been made possible through the generous donations given to help advance the school from the CHS community and providing amenities for the students.

If you want to look at the progress on the student center, there is a live camera set up that you can view at catholichigh.org/atm