An idea that began about 3 years ago is now in the planning stages to move forward. A few dozen South Buffalo residents attended a community forum yesterday evening to discuss a new field house addition for the 60-year-old Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School. The one concern on neighbors' minds was parking; a concern Councilmember Kearns is looking at from a City's perspective.
As an incentive to renew the all boy catholic school in South Buffalo, and compete with the attractions of suburban enrollment, the proposed 27,331 sq. ft. field house would be part of the Timon's Capital Campaign. The $2.3 million campaign, in addition to the field house, includes ideas of raising funds for school cafeteria renovations, a new mini bus, and technology enhancements. Other improvements have been made to the school over the years like new science labs, infrastructure outside, a state of the art Center for Media & Arts, Pre-Engineering Center, a modernized library, advanced facilities within in the classrooms and theater-style seating in the auditorium, which currently doubles as the school's gymnasium.
It is noted that the construction of a proposed field house would be a tremendous asset extending itself into the community; other schools and athletic programs would have access to utilize the facility. Representatives of Timon at the meeting feel this, not only will benefit its school, but will be a way to give back to South Buffalo as well.
John Collins, Board of Trustees Chairman and Timon Alumni, said Mayor Brown has endorsed the program "whole heartedly" and stated that Commissioner Joe Giambra said the Department of Public Works would "do what ever it could".
It was stressed at last night's forum that the field house is not a "go project" until adequate funding is raised and the community's apprehensions are addressed. This was a preliminary meeting to hear what the population around the school has to say about the idea; right now it was said that there is no eminent domain in place to acquire two existing property lots beyond the school's parking lot.
Plans of the field house would include a three-lane track, concession area, lobby and storage. School activities would include practices for track & field, football, lacrosse, soccer and baseball, as well as community recreation and health and fitness programs. The Mezzanine level would have a weight room, a cardiovascular room and couches' offices.
It is proposed that the new field house would be the size of their entire parking lot, with side parking on Strathmore & Columbus Avenues.