St. John's

St. John’s continues fundraising for community gym, youth center

Construction planned for 2014
2012-10-06T20:00:00Z St. John’s continues fundraising for community gym, youth centerISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
October 06, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

Fundraising continues for a new community gym and youth center at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and School, with the city to be asked to convert Caymus Street into a one-way street, sponsors say.

The proposed 17,000-square-foot Napa Valley Youth Center would provide year-round athletic activities and other after-school and summer programs for school-aged youth who are 17 and under, said Priscilla Silvey, the youth center’s development chair. The facility would include a two-story, 11,000-square-foot gym, complete with a running track on the second level.

St. John’s is still working on securing grants and sponsorships to reach its fundraising goal of $5.8 million. So far, $2.75 million has been raised, Silvey said.

Construction on the new facility should be under way by 2014, she said. Groundbreaking on the second construction phase, the multipurpose grass sports field, will take place after the main facility is built.

The grass sports field was originally scheduled for installation this past summer, but officials decided it made more sense to construct the gym and youth center first, Silvey explained.

The Napa Valley Youth Center’s grand opening is expected in late 2014 or early 2015, she said.

The main goal of the non-denominational facility is to help serve the needs of children in central Napa — particularly students who might otherwise be vulnerable to delinquency, drug abuse and gang violence, advocates say.

By building the new facility on the school’s playground at the corner of Main and Caymus streets, St. John’s would lose a 52-space parking area. The school is working with the city to replace some of those parking spaces by converting Caymus into a one-way street with parking. A traffic circle would also be installed between the church and school to help aid parents with drop-off and pick-up.

The city’s planning department is currently reviewing the plans of the Caymus Street project, according to St. John’s officials.

The Napa Valley Youth Center is still on track to be completed in about two to two-and-a-half years, but construction is on hold until the Caymus Street work is finished, school officials said.

Principal Nancy Jordan said about 150 families drop off and pick up their children every school day, with each process taking about 15 minutes. She did not anticipate the loss of the campus parking lot to cause much concern among parents.

“Because the parking lot is used as a playground during the school day, there is only very limited parking currently available for parents and only during pick-up,” Jordan said. “Parents seem to be more focused on the exciting reality that St. John’s will have a gym.”

St. John’s school children will have full access to the gym and youth center during the normal school day. The facilities will then be open to other children in the community after school, in the evenings and on weekends.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - October 07, 2012 8:19 pm
    While I appreciate what Father Gordon is trying to do, I went to that school in the late 50's and early 60's before the current church was built. Where the church now is was our playground and then it served as a parking lot for church services on the weekend. The playground was cramped then, When they built the new church and moved the playground it seemed to make the playground a little smaller. Now build this new facility, where are the kids going to play, it's nice to worry about the community but how about the tuition paying parents and their kids?
  2. Just Sayin'
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    Just Sayin' - October 08, 2012 8:07 am
    well said Old timer. The "where will the children play" has been asked and never addressed. The plans do not seem well thought out. In term of actual usability...I mean look at that turn around. Anyone who has been in that lot knows that space will not be enough. Also according to register reporting they have lost more than 2 million in funding during the the last year?? hmm why are supporters pulling out? If the goal is to "complement" the boys and girls club why not partner with them? They already have a wonderful program with staffing and development they would be able to make those $$ reach many needy children. In fact if this in a non denominational venture, how will it be staffed? who is going to pay for ongoing curriculum? and programs? The whole thing just has a bad smell, and nothing about it says "put the children first". Especially the children of the St. John's school. Parents speak up pay tuition and can ask these questions? Why aren't you??
  3. post-it
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    post-it - October 08, 2012 12:48 pm
    Parking on Sunday is already problematic in the neighborhood. What will happen when they don't have a parking lot?
  4. truth is
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    truth is - October 08, 2012 1:23 pm
    You hit it right on the head. The school administration had a gym that was also used as a hall. Years ago they decided to remodel it and turn it into a "full time money making hall". It was a failure. Now that same administration have been trying to get the parents and parrishioners to commit to a 5 year- monthly "committment" for years now. And now that they have tapped out all of the school and church community, they are going after the rest of the community. Don't fall for it. They can tear down the hall and built a fine gym with the money they have and still have a playground. But they have bigger ideas.
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