Maryknoll, 1 permit shy, sets gym groundbreaking
Maryknoll School will break ground tomorrow on a planned $16 million gymnasium and community center but will not start construction because a key city permit is still pending, officials said.
The ceremony at the Catholic school is set for 4 p.m. at Dole and Alexander streets.
The city granted Maryknoll a conditional-use permit for the complex this summer, settling a challenge by neighbors who had appealed a previous city approval of the use of the site over concerns about increased traffic.
Though the school can hold a groundbreaking, it needs to wait for the city to review and accept an application for a foundation permit before starting construction, said Planning and Permitting Director Henry Eng.
"Turning a spade of ground doesn't necessarily require a permit," he said. "On the other hand, if they are going to start pouring concrete, they probably should have something in hand ... because otherwise they may run into a problem."
Camille Michel of the Maryknoll School Development Office said officials will have only a formal blessing of the complex and erect fences outlining the project site. No construction will happen until permits are approved, she said.
"We are just continuing to work with the city on that," Michel said.
The gym and community center would sit on a nearly 4-acre site bordered by Wilder Avenue, Dole and Alexander streets, and Halekula Way. The complex should measure 31,905 square feet, seat 1,000 people and have 85 underground parking stalls.
In giving the project preliminary approval Aug. 22, the city required the school to:
» Continue a group created three years ago to facilitate communication with neighborhoods.
» Give the city reports about events held at the complex, including hours and attendance.
» Designate a school official to address possible community concerns about the complex.
The 1,400-student school has raised about $8 million, half the project's estimated cost, and expects to raise at least $4 million more, Michel said. With the complex, which is expected to hold theater performances and house an athletic department with a weight room, lockers and two multipurpose classrooms, the school will no longer have to bus sports teams to rented facilities around the city, Michel said.
"As we know what the availability is like outside of our curricular and extracurricular programs, we would love to make the building available for community needs," she added. "We will get a chance to work with the community to see what they would like to see happen."
Construction of the complex is estimated to take 14 months and be completed in early 2009, Michel said.