Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were the guests of honour at the opening of the new Marcellin Centre at St John’s College in Hamilton.
The new building is made up of a spacious gym arena, weights room and three classrooms.
Principal Shane Tong said the centre offers a massive step change in supporting PE, health education and sport at the college.
“But importantly, it also means we can gather all our students together now for events and celebrations,” explained Mr Tong.
With bleacher seating capacity for more than 500, the college’s 850 students can now assemble together as one whānau.
“Marcellin Champagnat calls us to live with a family spirit, and we can finally share that charism for both the little and big moments in our college life,” Mr Tong added.
The students welcomed their guests with a powerful wero and haka.
Before blessing the facility, Bishop Lowe reminded the young men to rejoice in their physicality and to honour their bodies, while also nourishing their spiritual health.
A light-hearted Q&A session with Prime Minister Ardern followed, compered by the PM’s cousin and head of English at St John’s, Paul Ardern.
Students and guests were treated to a fun and relaxed session with the Prime Minister. Questions ranged from “favourite National MP” through to requests for a Valentine’s Day photo!
The college stated it is enormously grateful to the proprietor, Bishop Lowe, for his support. The Diocesan Schools Office led funding, planning and construction of the facility, with support from the Board of Trustees for the fit-out.
The bulk of the funding for construction of this project has come from the parent community supporting the proprietor through the payment of donations plus loans serviced from attendance dues.