By Mary O’KEEFE
he St. James the Less Catholic School had a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning as they opened their multi-use amphitheater.
“It was part of what we developed when we were working with the architect in terms of multi-use function,” said Principal Susan Romero.
The amphitheater is located in the back area of the church’s school campus and is a several layered semi circle. Romero said they worked with the architect to make certain the sun would not be directly in the eyes of the audience during any time of the day.
The event on Tuesday celebrated the ribbon cutting with children singing and playing musical instruments and ended with a cheer from the school’s cheerleaders. Gio’s Baguettes and More donated baked goods for parents, friends and students to enjoy.
The amphitheater is phase two of an overall plan to create a park-like area for the students and church members.
“[It is an area] with these gentle sloping hills, and we planted trees,” Romero added.
The area had been a flat piece of land. The architect and planners created the rolling hills with trees, including sycamores, and a sidewalk that weaves around the park.
“The pathways allow the kids to walk or even ride little bikes,” she said. “[In addition] we redid the kinder play area and put in a new mat on the bottom of the playground and most recently we laid the cement slab that is about the size of a basketball court [farther] in the back,” Romero said.
The court will be used for basketball and volleyball. A parent built a planter box where the church planted a lemon tree.
“Phase three will be adding more trees along the Lauderdale Avenue side to add more shade,” she said.
All of these improvements were made possible by a generous donation from a local couple who did not have children. Father Ed Dover said the couple left funds in their estate for the church with a stipulation that part of the funds be spent on children’s programs.
“We put together money for a scholarship fund which families have benefited from already,” Dover told the audience.
Dover told the children to remember the generous couple in their prayers and thought they would smile upon the playground when they see the kids play.
There are more plans for use of the amphitheater including
evening concerts, dramatic performances and other activities, perhaps even a Sunrise Service.
Photos by Mary O’KEEFE