Capital Gains: New facilities enhance high school experience


With most students in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s 19 high schools extending their day with athletic practices and contests, or performing arts rehearsals and performances, many of those institutions continue to make commensurate investments on the facility front.

A look at four recent projects reflects the scope of that commitment.

St. Mary’s High School, Annapolis

St. Mary’s High School in Annapolis built a three-story Team House on the campus of St. John Neumann. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

With no place to expand in Maryland’s capital, St. Mary’s Parish and School in Annapolis continues to develop the campus of St. John Neumann, its mission 2.5 miles to the north. A decade after it opened an artificial turf field there, St. Mary’s dedicated an adjoining three-story Team House last September.

The 15,000-square-foot facility, which cost approximately $5 million, includes a weight room, laundry room, boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, and a team/ministry room.

Athletic director Allison Fondale recalls the activity there one day in December, when members of the football team were on the first floor lifting weights, the boys’ lacrosse team was on the third floor for a video session, and the girls’ team held its “Christmas” scrimmage on Pascal Field, named for former Anne Arundel County executive Bob Pascal.

“We could have fit in another group,” said Fondale, who said that 350 of the school’s 500 students participate in interscholastic athletics. “We run an after-school shuttle, but most of our varsity athletes are old enough to drive to the Team House or car pool.”

Sod was laid in December on an adjoining 70-yard-long grass practice field, which should be ready to use in time for spring athletics.


Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn

Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn dedicated a renovated Performing Arts Center in September. (Courtesy Archbishop Spalding High School)

Fifty years after it opened in 1966 in Severn, Archbishop Spalding began a renovation of its Performing Arts Center, a project that was dedicated by Archbishop William E. Lori during a liturgy last September.

Lobby and exterior upgrades were part of  a $6 million project that installed LED lighting; acoustic wall systems and ceiling; a modern sound system; theater seating for 1,170; a new stage floor; and curtains. Personal touches include an altar built by Pat Brady, the chairman of the Religion Department.

Nearly a third of its 1,200 students participate in just the music program, which includes 14 band and choral groups. They rehearse and perform in the largest venue of its kind in Anne Arundel County.


Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore

A new track will be used in meets for the first time this spring at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore. (Courtesy Archbishop Curley)

A new track, which will be used in meets for the first time this spring, is the final enhancement to the Curley Bowl, which in 2016 got a new artificial turf playing surface for football, soccer and lacrosse.

“I can’t wait to host meets,” said Gene Hoffman, class of 1969, the longtime director of the Friars’ cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field programs.

A new scoreboard was also part of a $1.9 million project at the boys’ school in Baltimore.


St. John’s Catholic Prep, Buckeystown

St. John’s Catholic Prep in Buckeystown continues to develop its Buckeystown campus after a move from Frederick five years ago. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)

Five years after it moved from Frederick to Buckeystown, SJCP continues to develop a campus initially built for St. Thomas More Academy, a pre-K-8 now in Middletown.

It will soon dedicate its $500,000 Delaplaine Rocca Team Center. Replacing an old locker room, the 3,000-square-foot addition includes a fitness center, boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, and office space.

The school is also raising funds to build an artificial turf field, baseball and softball fields, and a track on campus, as well as repurposing existing space to create a chapel.

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Paul McMullen

Paul McMullen

Paul McMullen has served as the managing editor of the Catholic Review since 2008.

The author of two books, Paul has been involved in local media since age 12, when he began delivering The News American to 80 homes in his neighborhood. He began his journalism career with the Capital-Gazette Newspapers in Anne Arundel County, and spent more than 25 years as a sports writer for The Sun in Baltimore. His favorite writing assignments have included the Summer Olympics in Australia and Greece, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and “Feet for Francis,” a 2015 walking pilgrimage from the Baltimore Basilica to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis.