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School News | Saturday, February 17, 2024

'This is for the kids'

Immaculata-La Salle dedicates state-of-the-art sports complex with capacity for 1,000 spectators

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MIAMI | A phrase that Salesian Sister Kim Keraitis, Immaculata-La Salle’s principal, often repeated when seeking funds for a new sports complex at the school was, “This is for the kids.” 

Immaculata-La Salle’s previous principal, Salesian Sister Pat Roche, “had a vision for the complex many years ago,” said Ignacio Halley, a 1978 graduate and general contractor, during the dedication ceremony for the new complex. “Sister Kim Keraitis made it happen.” 

Audience applauds Coaches Van Parsons and Carmen Grosso, standing on stage, for whom the new athletic facility is named, as Jim Rigg, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Ignacio Halley, class of '78, look on, during the dedication and blessing of new athletic facilities at Immaculata LaSalle High, Feb. 1, 2024.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Audience applauds Coaches Van Parsons and Carmen Grosso, standing on stage, for whom the new athletic facility is named, as Jim Rigg, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Ignacio Halley, class of '78, look on, during the dedication and blessing of new athletic facilities at Immaculata LaSalle High, Feb. 1, 2024.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski blessed the two new sports buildings Feb. 1, 2024. The buildings are named in honor of two coaches who served at the school for many years, Carmen Grosso and Van Parsons. Both were present for the ribbon-cutting and blessing of the Grosso-Parsons Sports Complex. 

One building has a capacity for about 1,000 spectators with a modernized press box, public restrooms, a state-of-the-art training and rehabilitation facility, coaches’ offices, and a strength training room. The other building is a fieldhouse with locker rooms. The price tag was about $12 million. 

The complex is phase one of a three-phase building project at the school, which lies between the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and Mercy Hospital in Coconut Grove. 

“This is only Phase One,” said Halley. “In Phase Two, a multi-purpose athletic field will replace the current grass and running track around the field to add space for upgrades. Those upgrades include a baseball field, tennis courts, beach volleyball, and a sports pavilion for dance and cheerleading that could accommodate sports such as wrestling.” 

Archbishop Thomas Wenski blesses those present before blessing the new athletic facilities at Immaculata-La Salle High School as Salesian Sister Kim Keraitis, principal,  looks on, Feb. 1, 2024.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski blesses those present before blessing the new athletic facilities at Immaculata-La Salle High School as Salesian Sister Kim Keraitis, principal, looks on, Feb. 1, 2024.

Halley thanked the architects for their amazing job. “You created subtle and innovative features like the rounding of the field house to make it cohesive with Immaculata-La Salle’s property. The buildings are awesome. Remember to give back to the school whether it’s your time, dollars, or ability,” he said. 

Sister Kim reminded everyone that the new facility was intended for the school's 886 students. 

“Today, we come together to celebrate a dream for our school’s students,” she said. “We are now able to provide for them another opportunity through this sports complex to develop their abilities and talents and fulfill their dreams in a safe environment.” 

Sister Kim thanked Archbishop Wenski; Sister Elizabeth Worley, chancellor for administration of the Archdiocese of Miami; Jim Rigg, archdiocesan superintendent of schools; David Prada, archdiocesan director of Building and Property; Halley, who serves on the school's board of directors; Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a class of 1996 alumnus; parents, donors and Sister Pat, who first dreamed it. 

Rigg called the dedication ceremony “providential” because it coincided with Catholic Schools Week and the previous day was the feast day of St. John Bosco, the patron of the Salesians who staff the school. The saint helped poor and abandoned children on the streets of Turin, Italy, in the 19th century. 

“What a wonderful day for Immaculata-LaSalle High School’s Royal Lions,” said Rigg. “This sports complex will be here for many future generations. It seems St. John Bosco is working through this whole process. Like him, we in Catholic education believe in educating the whole student, spiritually, academically, mentally, and physically.” 

Mayor Suarez added his praise for Sister Kim. “The construction of these new buildings is a testament to Sister Kim’s leadership and will, and to the Immaculata-LaSalle community. I promise to do more to support Immaculata-LaSalle. That is my pledge to you today,” he said. 

Archbishop Wenski said athletics plays an important role in education. “Sports help develop character, virtue, and values that are important in life. Sports help us to live our Christian life better.” 

Alfredo Cancelo, 16, a point guard on Immaculata-LaSalle’s basketball team, said he is happy with the addition of the sports complex and plans to make good use of the strength room. 

“The new facility has equipment that uses advanced technology,” he said. “Before this became available, we used basic equipment like squat racks and leg presses in the gym. The new tech will help with quality and quantity of strength. Our on-court performance will benefit and help us win games.”  

Watch clips from the ceremony at this link: https://www.instagram.com/p/C22wO6xOBDr/?hl=en

Athletic training center in the new Grosso-Parsons sports complex at Immaculata-La Salle High. The new athletic facilities were dedicated Feb. 1, 2024.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Athletic training center in the new Grosso-Parsons sports complex at Immaculata-La Salle High. The new athletic facilities were dedicated Feb. 1, 2024.


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