After adding classrooms and renovating a library and other facilities over the last decade, Bishop T.K. Gorman Catholic School is getting around to constructing a multi-purpose building to serve athletes, alumni and everybody else on campus.

School officials expect to break ground after the first of the year on the Brodnax Family Athletic Facility, estimated to cost $4.5 million. They say ground will not be broken until all the money is raised.

Gifts have come in primarily from the Gorman community, according to Barbara King, development director. It is the school's largest capital campaign and has been very successful, she said.

"We hope to be through with construction by late August, (although) it could be November of next year," Steve Chenevert, facilities coordinator, said.

The existing field house on the eastern end of the football field will be torn down and the Brodnax Family Athletic Facility constructed in its place.

The field house, built in the late 1950s, is antiquated, small and does not meet student needs, officials said.

Getting the new facility will be "bittersweet, as there is a lot of history and experiences that have been shared in the existing field house. But the space is outdated, and this will be a new beginning in a lot of ways for Bishop Gorman," Sean Riley Cunningham, a junior football player, said.

"It's going to be for everybody. It's going to have an alumni room. There will be facilities for wrestling, the cheer team and dancers (who have) been practicing in the cafeteria on the cement," Ms. King said.

The school made improvements over the years to other facilities, adding a chapel and a fine arts wing, upgrading the library and chemistry labs but never put much focus on the athletic facility until now, Chenevert said.

The new 19,860-square-foot, two-story athletic building "is going to get us up to par with the other private schools in this area as far as facilities for our kids," Coach Rod Kaspar said.

"I think it's going to generate interest to where the kids are going to want to be a participant. Everybody is going to be able to use it from the sixth grade on up. I think it's going to give our community a sense of pride that we are back up on equal footing with the other schools."

All sports will utilize the new structure except for basketball and volleyball, which use the gym. Sports that will use it include football, wrestling, dance, track, softball, baseball and cheerleaders.

Sara Goforth, a junior dance officer, said, "The new facility will benefit all aspects of the dance team. We will be able to work out properly and in the right conditions. The dance space will be exactly what we need to grow and feel more appreciated as a team."

Hunter Pilgrim, a junior football player, said, "The space will help us to grow the football program, but more importantly, serve our entire Gorman community, from our current students to alumni. We are very excited about having this available to everyone to benefit from."

The weight room will be the centerpiece of the building It will be almost three times the size of what the school has now, the coach said, and large enough to house boys and girls at the same time. The new building will provide students better dressing rooms and better workout facilities and shower space will be doubled, Kaspar said.

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