Bishop Thompson blesses ground for new facility


CHARLESTON — In what was described as a “win, win, win” situation for all involved, Bishop David B. Thompson blessed the ground at the site of the new Bishop England High School facility on Daniel Island June 12.

The event was previously scheduled April 27, but was canceled due to rain. Following a welcome from Dr. Gay Rowzie, Msgr. Lawrence B. McInerny, rector of Bishop England High School, described the confluence of events leading to the construction of the new facility a “win, win, win” for the College of Charleston and Daniel Island, as well as Bishop England. Msgr. McInerny said he was especially pleased that “two-thirds of the winners are young people.”

Lectors at the short liturgy before the ground blessing were Rowzie and Nicholas Theos, principal of Bishop England High School, with music provided by William Schlitt, Annie Penick, Charles Levine, and Brian Reed of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

. Construction on the new school is scheduled to be completed in July 1998 in time for the beginning of the 1998-99 school year. The campus, which is being constructed for a student body of about 1,000, is being built in two stages. Stage one includes three buildings: one for classrooms and administrative offices; one for the modern library/media center and science labs; and one for the 1,200-seat gymnasium, physical education facilities, and the music, band and art rooms

. Amenities include wide hallways, built-in lockers and dressing rooms in the gym. The first stage also includes a 2,500-seat stadium for soccer and football events; a baseball diamond; a large courtyard; and a retention pond. A second stage of construction planned for the future includes a fourth building, the auditorium, which would complete the quadrangle.

The total estimated cost for stage one is $13 million. The sale of the downtown facilities on Calhoun Street to the College of Charleston will provide $8.9 million. The Bishop England High School Campus Campaign, with a goal of $2.5 million, will also help fund construction. With these two revenue sources, the school will open with minimal debt.

Daniel Island Development Company donated the land for the new campus when the company was partially owned by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

Gulf Stream Construction Company is the builder.