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At Columbus High: A gym with a view

New wellness and fitness center will house sports teams, help non-athletes 'stay in shape'

Bishop Fernando Isern, bishop emeritus of Pueblo, Colo., blesses with holy water the new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC

Bishop Fernando Isern, bishop emeritus of Pueblo, Colo., blesses with holy water the new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami.

Marist Brother Kevin Handibode, president of Christopher Columbus High School, speaks to those in attendance at the blessing of the school's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC

Marist Brother Kevin Handibode, president of Christopher Columbus High School, speaks to those in attendance at the blessing of the school's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

MIAMI | After two years of construction and millions of dollars raised, Christopher Columbus High School dedicated its new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center just before the start of the 2013-14 school year.

The blessing was done by Bishop Fernando Isern, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo., and current pastor of St. Kieran Church in Miami.

“Today is a great day in the 56-year history of Christopher Columbus High School,” said Marist Brother Michael Brady, school principal, during his welcoming remarks. “This facility will fulfill the needs of our athletes as well as the needs of those students who don’t play a sport but still wish to stay in shape.”

Over 200 alumni, students and supporters of the high school gathered Aug. 10 to witness the building’s blessing and dedication. The modern and sleek design is aimed at providing a welcoming environment to all Columbus students.

Exterior view of Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC

Exterior view of Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

“Fitness is very important in having a well rounded student,” said Marist Brother Kevin Handibode, school president. “Eventually we will have classes on the second floor for proper nutrition to nurture a sound mind and body.”

The first floor is now available to all students. The second floor will open later in the year. It will consist of a locker room, coaches’ offices, and meeting rooms on the fitness complex side with classrooms for nutrition, health, and spinning on the wellness center side.

The wellness center is named after an alumni parent who helped establish the original weight room at Columbus over 20 years ago.  

Bishop Fernando Isern, bishop emeritus of Pueblo, Colo.,  places a cross near the entrance of the Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC

Bishop Fernando Isern, bishop emeritus of Pueblo, Colo., places a cross near the entrance of the Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

“Mr. James Bernhardt and his family have been incredibly supportive of the mission of the school, which is the mission of the Marist Brothers to make Jesus Christ known and love,” said Brother Brady. “Words cannot express the gratitude we have for him and his family. They have just been exceptional.”

“Five years ago we opened the Mas Technology Center which focused on education for our students. We then thought it was time to update our athletic facility in order to produce a well rounded young man which is a combination of spiritual, academic and athletic,” said Juan Gomez, development director.

To raise funds for the new building, students held a walkathon and the school funneled the proceeds from all the fundraising events for the past two years, such as the annual fishing and golf tournaments.

“The reason we have this building is because of the support of the entire Columbus family,” said Cristina Cruz, marketing director. “Over $5 million have already been raised by students, parents and alumni. The total cost of the building will be slightly over $8 million.”

“I think this is great because it shows that Columbus cares about us the students entirely,” said Joseph Piscitelli, student body president. “This is a great option for students after school. It provides us a place to go and not only hang out but work out as well.”

The school opened in 1958 with just two and a half buildings and an enrollment of approximately 150 students. The Marist Brothers assumed the direction of the school in 1959. Throughout the years, the school expanded, adding new buildings, facilities and programs. The current enrollment is more than 1,350 students and more than 12,700 alumni.
View of the fitness equipment in Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

Photographer: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC

View of the fitness equipment in Christopher Columbus High School's new All Sports Fitness Complex & Bernhardt Wellness Center.

Comments from readers

Richard De Maria - 08/21/2013 10:12 AM
Congratulations to all who worked to make this possible. I hope that I can get a visitor's pass to use this fitness equipment for the summer of 2015. The architecture is really impressive and speaks of moving into the future.
Carlota E. Morales, Ed. D. - 08/20/2013 03:39 PM
Congratulations to all who work to make this center possible.
Adelante!
Carlota E. Morales, Ed. D.
Principal

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