Wet weather delays Hanna project
SEAN DEBOIS works on one of the pillars that will be in the plaza between the buildings.
This winter's wet weather may have filled reservoirs and ended the drought, but it's also caused delays for the Hanna Boys Center building project.
Last fall, the center broke ground for two new buildings as part of a $15 million capital improvement project that included a combination admissions and alumni center and a multi-use auditorium.
When they announced their plans last year, Hanna officials were hoping that the admissions and alumni center and the multi-use auditorium would be finished sometime this spring.
Spring is almost gone and anyone driving by the campus on Arnold Drive can see that there's plenty left to do.
Kris Van Giesen, the center's chief development and community relations officer, said the weather has pushed back the completion of the buildings until sometime in late summer or early fall.
"But that too depends on the weather," Van Giesen said.
In addition to the two buildings taking shape on the Hanna meadow, work will begin later on a baseball field that will back up to the new buildings, a new multipurpose soccer field on the north side of the driveway and a realignment of the entrance.
Van Giesen said the baseball field and soccer field should be complete by next spring.
"We haven't been able to play any home games," he said of the Archbishop Hanna High School baseball and soccer teams.
The capital campaign, while only in the first year of a five-year plan, has already raised more than $3 million. "We know that times are tough," Van Giesen said. "We understand that. But with the continued support of the community, we'll have a place we'll all be proud of," he added.
Last year, more than 40,000 unique visitors were on campus for open houses, any one of numerous sporting events, the Schwab Cup and visits by potential students and their parents or guardians.
Hanna, built originally for grade-school students, has evolved into Archbishop Hanna High School serving between 115 and 120 boys from the age of 12 or 13 through 18. And last year, the high school received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The admissions and alumni centers are being built to replace older, crowded facilities on the campus. They will share an entrance through which potential students can wander into the alumni center and receive a history lesson on Hanna's past, Van Giesen said. The admissions center will have offices, conference rooms and even a kitchen.
In addition to incoming students, the center also works with alumni. "We work with the kids while they're here," Van Giesen said, "and after they leave."
Last week as part of the school's follow-on care program that includes counseling, career guidance and job placement, among other services, a number of the alumni came back to campus. "This is their home," Van Giesen said.
While the 300-seat multipurpose building isn't finished yet, Van Giesen said Hanna has already had inquiries from numerous groups asking about its availability. In addition to being acoustically engineered, the structure will feature sliding doors at the back of the room that will open onto a plaza. And the building will house a large kitchen.
"We're in conversations with industries and foundations about naming opportunities," Van Giesen said.
For years, groups have used the Hanna facilities for various sports and other events - and that won't change. Between the athletic fields and the multipurpose auditorium, the new facilities will open up new venues for local groups and organizations. "This is a great opportunity for the community," Van Giesen said.
But while the building continues, so does the capital campaign.
"But the early support has been encouraging," he said. "It's a long campaign. We have a lot of work ahead."
For details on the "Spreading Our Wings" campaign, see www.hannacenter.org.