Maryknoll School finally has a gym after 82 years


POSTED: Saturday, September 05, 2009

Maryknoll School students finally have a gym to call their own after 82 years of bouncing from school to school and park to park to practice and compete.

“;It feels like Maryknoll is finally complete,”; said senior Keenan Kurihara.

More then 1,400 students, staff and faculty members celebrated the grand opening of their new, fully equipped gymnasium yesterday. Among the guests were area lawmakers, alumni and Lt. Gov. James “;Duke”; Aiona.

The structure, on Maryknoll's grade-school campus at Alexander and Dole streets, is the only high school gymnasium on Oahu with an NBA-regulation basketball court. It is also the only high school gymnasium statewide that has both central air conditioning and soundproof insulation, which was added to ease the impact on surrounding residential buildings.

The gym is housed in the new 35,000-square-foot, two-story Maryknoll Community Center.

Officials raised $12 mil- lion for its construction. A $3 million gift came from the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, after which the gym is named. It is equipped with a media box, two locker rooms with showers and restrooms, a treatment room, an 1,800-square-foot fitness center with weights and athletic training equipment, and on-site certified athletic trainers. Along with athletic events, assemblies and community events will be held at the $21 million center.

Today is the first time that Maryknoll will hold a varsity home game, facing St. Francis School's volleyball team.

Kurihara recalled how he and other male students used a large, makeshift shower built in part of the weight room with only a curtain dividing the two sections. Physical education classes were held at Makiki District Park. Classes were cut short to allow students time to walk back to campus and shower before heading to their next class.

The school went without a gym since it opened in 1927. Its athletic teams practiced for only an hour, compared with two hours for other athletic teams with a gym at their schools, as Maryknoll shuffled from one site to the next. Time had to be allotted to commute to the site, set, remove and haul away equipment and clean the facility.

“;One day they would be at Palama gym. The next day they would be at Central Y, another day at Hongwanji Mission School,”; said Athletic Director Patricia Heatherly, a 1966 Maryknoll School graduate.

Many said the gym would not have been possible without former school President Michael Baker, who spearheaded plans when he arrived in 1997. “;It was under his leadership that everybody followed,”; Heatherly said. “;Everybody was committed to this project.”;





        » An NBA-regulation basketball court

        » Central air conditioning

        » Soundproof insulation

        » Two locker rooms with showers and restrooms

        » An 1,800-square-foot fitness center with weights and athletic training