COTTONWOOD — Bishop Peter Christensen of Boise led more than 60 people in prayer and gave blessings at the Angelus Center groundbreaking ceremony Friday, Aug. 20, at St. John Bosco Academy at Cottonwood. Attending were families and friends to the campus, along with Father Paul Wander and Deacon Ryan Uhlenkott.

The Angelus Center will be an approximate 26,000-square-foot gym and theater complex located south of the existing school building. The complex will include a college-sized basketball court, with the ability to split into two high school courts, and seating for more than 600 fans.

Construction is projected to begin this month by Arnzen Construction. The building is slated to be completed in August 2022.

“Prayers are being answered!” said freshman Sarah Waters. “I can’t wait to play sports in a real gym!” A handball court on the mezzanine level will also function as a playroom for young kids during games. A window wall will allow parents to keep an eye on young kids and the game. Locker rooms, a weight room and a team room will complete the athletic side of the building.

“I am looking forward to watching our high school students get to play home games in their own gym and having the ability to host tournaments and clinics,” said athletic director Gene Weckman. “Having a full-size court will help our players better prepare for games. I really like how our Catholic faith will be highlighted outside and inside the facility for all to see and appreciate.”

The other half of the building will house an auditorium with seating for nearly 300. Also included are a director’s office, prop storage, and costume storage. A cry room in the theater keeps the space family friendly. Sophomore Levi Wassmuth is excited to hold drama productions in the new theater.

“We will be able to build and use more elaborate props and backdrops to make our plays better than ever,” he said.

Part-time theater director Michael Rehder said, “I can’t wait for the audiences to hear our actors better through the improved acoustics of the new theater building. There is so much magic and music that awaits our students on the new stage in the Angelus Center!”

A large central foyer will double as a space for events and socializing and will include an industrial kitchen and concession area. Also included in this project is a separate shop building which will house wood, metal, and auto shop classes. Shop classes have always been held off-campus and a new shop space will provide a broader range of classes, as well as allow more class time by eliminating a commute.

At the Aug. 20 groundbreaking, Bishop Christensen led a prayer to bless the construction and all the students. Student body president Jade Prigge read from scripture and Deacon Ryan led prayers of the faithful. The bishop then conducted his very first blessing of a shovel and invited all students in attendance to stand close as he dug in with principal Jim Hickel, Father Wander and general contractor Morris Arnzen.

The academy highlighted donors and also businesses involved with the project: Arnzen Construction, Allwest Testing, DCI Engineers, FP Engineering, Holcomb Steel Buildings and Crane Service, Cuddy & Associates Inc, BRS Architects, DC Engineering, Rick Martin Lighting and Scenic Design, and Spectrum Engineers.

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