By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
On Aug. 17, in front of an eager crowd that included donors, alumni, faculty, staff and students, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell formally dedicated and blessed the newly completed Leyden Complex for Arts and Athletics, as well as 28 newly renovated classrooms now in use for the 2014-2015 school year.
The occasion was also used to formally close the school’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“I’ve often said that education is by far the greatest investment and the most important investment that we can make in our lives,” Bishop Farrell said. “Our future depends on the young men and women who are in school today. Bishop Lynch has played an incredible role in promoting strong, upstanding young men and women through their education program.”
Work began on the new 45,000-square-foot facility last year with the demolition of buildings originally used as dormitories for the school’s founding Dominican priests and nuns.
The Leyden Complex for Arts and Athletics represents the largest addition to Bishop Lynch’s campus since 1963 and brings with it a number of dramatic improvements, including a new gymnasium, three visual arts studios, two core classrooms, a dance studio, a band hall, a weight room, three varsity locker rooms, as well as new staff offices.
In addition, 28 existing classrooms have been completely remodeled and outfitted with the latest technology, including short throw projectors and new network connections for teachers.
“This day for Bishop Lynch High School is both a culmination and a new beginning,” said Ed Leyden, president of Bishop Lynch, who, earlier this year, announced his retirement by the end of the 2014-2015 school year. “It’s a culmination of our first 50 years with our concluding celebration for those 50 years and a start to our next 50 years.”
Leyden, who has spent 50 years himself in Catholic education, said it was a joy to watch the students gawk at the new facilities.
“It was so much fun watching the kids come back,” Leyden said. “When they left last year, (the classroom) renovations hadn’t even started. They had seen the new gym, the new band hall, and they really enjoyed seeing the east side.”
The Leyden Arts & Athletics Complex is part of a massive five phase donor-led capital campaign called Veritas, intended to expand Bishop Lynch’s facilities and update its existing ones.
Still to come are 19 new classrooms, new administrative offices, a new west entrance and parking lot, a new student activities center, and redesigned student commons and library. School officials hope to complete the final phase of building by the fall of 2016.
“It is very difficult to achieve all of those goals and the resources that are required for education today,” said Richard Toussaint, chairman of the Veritas Campaign. “It’s a very big challenge and we are building upon the foundation of the prior generations who established this school in the first place. It’s a real challenge to bring together the necessary resources to build on that legacy and build something greater for the next generation.”
Senior Grant Ludgar said he wishes he had another four years to enjoy the new facilities at Bishop Lynch High School, but is nonetheless excited to see the school move forward.
“Seeing this tradition, being a part of it is really special,” Ludgar said. “It is special and unique to see a school thrive for 50 years.”