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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 3 months ago

Cardinal Mooney undergoes $3 million renovation

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The renovation includes a new athletic complex and updated classrooms.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

As Cardinal Mooney is observing its 60th anniversary, it also has another reason to celebrate: a $3 million renovation to its sports complex and classrooms.

The project, funded by the school’s Ignite campaign, will bring a new synthetic turf field as well as 10 updated classrooms for its 501 students.

Of those students, 80% participate in sports, Cardinal Mooney Principal Ben Hopper said, so the school wanted to work to build not only its academic facilities but also its athletic facilities.

“We want to provide our students with a well-rounded education,” Hopper said. “We know sports are a significant part of that, but we want to extend our excellence to the classrooms, to sports, to fine arts, to whatever we do.”

The athletic complex

The athletic complex will receive $2.6 million.

The field, which will be used for football, soccer and lacrosse, will transform from a grass field to synthetic.

“We’re going to be able to practice on a daily basis weather-wise,” football coach Paul Maechtle said. “In August and September, we get sent in a lot because of rainstorms. Now if we wait out that rainstorm, we can go back out for practice.”

A new set of stadium seats will increase the complexes capacity by 300. Photo courtesy

Likewise, the field will allow for fewer canceled games. Last year, the team had to cancel four junior varsity football games because of unplayable conditions.

The soil dug up from the current field will be used to create a practice field nearby.

“A lot of our boys and girls soccer teams and boys and girls lacrosse teams could never practice on-site,” Athletics Director Larry Antonucci said. “Now with the practice field, it’s less in transportation, it’s safer, and it enhances everything for our student athletes.”

Additionally, the complex will feature a new press box, goal posts, stadium lights and 300 additional seats. Perhaps the biggest change, however, comes in the form of a regulation track.

Cardinal Mooney’s old track was less than 400 meters around, which is the required length to host a track meet. This means that the school’s approximately 80 track and field participants, which is 16% of the student population, had to compete in every track meet away from home.

The new six-lane track will be regulation size and composed of synthetic rubber. Additionally, new areas for long jump, high jump and pole vault will be added.

“Now we’ll be able to host meets, cut down on travel and expose the larger community to our campus,” Hopper said.

Construction began June 1 and is expected to be complete by the end of fall.

The classrooms

The media center and 10 of Cardinal Mooney’s 30 classrooms were renovated over the summer at a cost of $370,000.

The building under renovation, which opened in 1983, saw new ceiling tiles, baseboards and movable desks that can be arranged in

The new desks can be moved into a variety of positions to suit educational needs.

myriad configurations, something Director of Development Tara McClean said will help prepare students for college.

“You can put them in rows, the Socratic arcs, duos, trios, whatever you want,” she said. “It really introduces students to a more collegiate-type environment.”

Additionally, each classroom features a Cardinal Mooney red accent wall.

“These renovations elevate the experience for the students,” Hopper said. “We know it’s not just a matter of disseminating and mastering content but how you actually accomplish that and prepare students to be the best learners for college and beyond.”

The classrooms were ready for students’ return Aug. 12, and the media center will open with a naming ceremony in the fall.

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