Phase I Summary
In January 1999, over 400 alumni, Brothers and friends attended the dedication ceremony for the Thomas F. and Elaine P. Ridgley Fine Arts and Athletic Center. The dedication of this state-of-the-art facility was presided over by Bishop Gregory Aymond, CJ ’67, hosted by Brother Ivy LeBlanc, S.C. President of Brother Martin High School and was the realization of the goal of the first phase of the Campaign for Brother Martin High School. With this addition to the school, Brother Martin remains poised to continue to offer the very best to its students so that they can make changes for good as contributing members of our society.
Generous contributions from alumni and special friends of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart led by Tom, ’51, and Elaine P. Ridgley and with the outstanding leadership of the Steering Committee chaired by Jerome J. Reso, ’55, the newest addition to the campus was completed in time for the second semester of the 1998-1999 school year. David Waggonner, Chief Architect, and representatives of the Linbeck Corporation, general contractors, were in attendance for the celebration of the completion of the building. After dedication ceremonies in the renovated Robert M. Conlin Gym, guests were invited into the Ridgely Center to attend a reception in the Brother Mark Thornton Terrace and to participate in tours given by students.
The theme of our capital campaign was Fidelity through Change. Our goal was to construct a state of the art facility while ensuring that it reflected the values and ideals by which the Brothers of the Sacred Heart have always been identified. The foundation of those values is the belief in holistic education. We have always believed that every boy’s experience of the school environment teaches him something. We took every opportunity to honor our history and the patrimony it bequeaths to us as a way to teach what must endure. By constructing our new building on St. Aloysius Drive near the corner of Cor Jesu Drive and by placing the last existing structure of St. Aloysius, the column, at the entrance, we are trying to honor the permanence of our ministry. We want to clearly indicate that, while times, names, locations and institutions change, we are committed to the fidelity of our mission.
You enter the beautiful Ridgley Center Lobby on a diagonal. The diagonal sits on the Faubourg-Darcantel line, one of the oldest boundaries in the city. In so graphically designing our entryway and lobby, we are attempting to emphasize our commitment to this community and hope to teach that commitment to our students. Upstairs in the second floor lobby, you face a wall of windows which frames E.A. Farley Field.
Throughout the Ridgley Center there are rooms named to honor some of those who have contributed mightily to keeping us faithful to our deepest call. The band room is named in honor of Professor Joseph Taverna. Prof Taverna was the band director at St. Aloysius from 1931-1961. In honoring Professor Taverna, we hope to honor the value of excellence that has always been part of an education by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
The athletic training room is named to honor Dr. Winston P. Riehl who has mended Crusader athletes since 1966. Dr. Riehl has been a faithful steward of one of our most treasured legacies. He has never placed any concern above the good of the individual he is treating. This commitment to personal attention keeps before us one of the ideals we always strive to uphold in our schools.
Under the leadership of Tom Benson, the St. Aloysius Class of 1944 was the only class to have a donation made in the name of every class member. With those donations we were able to add an auxiliary gym in the Ridgley Center. We know that by placing a new St. Aloysius gym in the Ridgley Center we can always keep alive the spirit of discipline and hard work for our students.
Brother Mark Thornton was the first principal of Brother Martin High School. Additionally, as well as being a part of the decision to create Brother Martin, no person has been more influential in the initial success of the school nor in its continuing prosperity. He has truly been the school’s guardian angel. Throughout the years his leadership and faith have molded and formed our school. In naming the terrace, the most beautiful room in the building, after him we hope to perpetually remember that religious values are the cornerstone of our mission.
By honoring our history in the design of the Ridgley Center, we are forever calling our school community to be faithful to its mission. We use this space to have our students understand that we are here to provide them a formation in light of their eternal destiny. Or as Brother Martin said, “We are not here to teach boys how to make a living, we are here to teach them how to make a life.”
The generosity our alumni and friends and their overwhelming response to the Campaign for Brother Martin High School made the successful completion of Phase I of the Master Plan and the Ridgley Center possible. With the goals of the first phase of the Campaign so soundly and beautifully met, we move confidently to take our next step. We do so thankful for all of the loving generous support the Brothers and their lay colleagues receive as we do God’s work with future generations of Crusaders.