Lions aim to refurbish den

Do you hear what I hear? Viator Viator Capital Campaign works to make in-building enhancements, campus-wide upgrades


Art courtesy of Advancement Office

This rendering displays the Capital Campaign’s vision for a potential athletic complex to be built using donor funds in the next several years

Last fall, Saint Viator High School celebrated its sixtieth year in session. On September 5, 1961, SVHS opened its doors to two hundred and twenty-five freshmen and sophomore boys under the leadership of Fr. Francis Williams, CSV. The faculty consisted of fifteen Viatorians and three laymen. While Sacred Heart of Mary was under construction, 140 girls began their first two years of high school in rooms at Saint Viator.
This sixtieth anniversary of Saint Viator High School is notable for looking back into the school’s past and, more importantly, for looking forward to the school’s future. SVHS’s future is contained in its “Capital Campaign”—a $28 million campaign that calls for renovations and a surge in endowment funding. School administration recognizes that a campaign of this magnitude could not be possible without a vested interest from the community.
“The theme we’ve chosen is [igniting our community,]” said Father Dan Lydon C.S.V. ’73. “The whole experience of the community is profound with our current students and our alumni. Everything we have planned revolves around community.”
This will certainly not be the first time SVHS will make significant strides in improving its infrastructure through communal donations. In 1993, Saint Viator High School received a generous grant from Robert and Ann Scanlan to create the Scanlan Center for students with learning differences. In 2011, SVHS moved forward with a comprehensive renovation of the Scanlan Center. Through the generosity of the Saint Viator community and the support of the Scanlan family, the renovation of the Scott R. Scanlan Center became a reality. The Scanlan Center has since transformed into a technologically-advanced and comfortable learning environment for students to share.
“The Scanlan Center has been amazing for me throughout high school,” said senior Katie Callero. “I’ve been able to receive personalized assistance and more time to work on my assignments.”
The Capital Campaign initiative will make strides to be a far more expansive project, benefiting students and teachers alike. School-wide improvements include air-conditioning installations, classroom renovations, and expanding student scholarships.
“We need to make the best learning environment that we can so that nothing is going to impede the teaching and learning process—to do this, we need air conditioning,” said Br. Peter Lamick C.S.V. ’07. “Through improving our academic environment at Saint Viator High School, we will not only continue to attract the best students, but we’ll also be able to retain the best faculty.”
SVHS seeks to expand its curriculum and expose its students to more significant academic opportunities through this Capital Campaign. However, it will be a largely uphill battle for SVHS to reach the heights it desires without expansions such as classroom renovations and HVAC improvement. With a school-wide average A.C.T. score of 26.4, according to the school website, SVHS already stands above the majority of Illinois in terms of education. School-wide improvements would, most importantly, widen the gap between SVHS and competing schools, ensuring a prosperous future.
As a preview of what the Capital Campaign will offer SVHS students, two “model classrooms” were added starting in the 2022-23 school year on the building’s second floor, offering a look at what the future could look like. Additionally, the school chapel was extensively renovated throughout the summer, offering students an enhanced area to explore their faith.
“With the help of some very generous donors, our chapel has been beautifully enhanced, and we have two brand-new “model classrooms,” said Fr. Lydon. “The plan for the future is to update all of the classrooms in the building over time with improved lighting, more contemporary furnishings, and the latest technology.”
These new and improved model classrooms are notable for their more appealing look and ravishing technology and for their ability to foster discussion among students. With long desks encouraging students to face one another, SVHS hopes to foster proper communication skills among students.
“Some of the biggest skills that [the students] need as they leave high school is being able to work in groups and being able to be creative original thinkers,” said Mrs. Cheryl Nowak. “Our modern classrooms will allow them to work together and practice those skills before they actually need them in the real world.”
As the Capital Campaign furthers in its execution, students will hopefully begin to see these “model classrooms” become the new standard. Through fostering its students’ educational and emotional development, SVHS hopes to attract the brightest and most talented individuals to receive a Catholic education. Though obstacles, such as tuition costs, exist in receiving a private-school education, the SVHS Capital Campaign hopes to alleviate the needs of those wishing to attend.
“We want to expand our offerings for tuition assistance for prospective families to make Saint Viator High School more affordable,” said Br. Lamick. “In doing this, we can provide more opportunities for people and young people to experience the difference that Saint Viator High School makes.”
The issue of tuition costs restricting education options will hopefully alleviate itself through the Capital Campaign. With so many bright minds coming from lower-income families, these individuals must be given the proper and necessary support they need to pursue a private education with SVHS. It is the mission of SVHS to ensure no student is turned away from attending based on the tuition cost alone. Moreover, SVHS recognizes the importance of traits like student culture and how much of an impact it can have on recruiting potential students. To combat this need for heightened culture and pride among students, SVHS plans to construct a four-field athletic complex that will allow the school to host varsity football games for the first time in its history.
“We want to make [tuition assistance] available to anyone that wants to come to Saint Viator,” said Fr. Lydon. “The second phase of the Igniting Our Community campaign will allow us to provide much-needed enhancements to our back athletic fields while also providing a home-field advantage for our community.”
These upgrades to the back athletic fields will not only introduce a new infrastructure for athletes to hone their skills but will also give these athletes a new sense of pride. Many athletes hold their home field close to their hearts, and it appears difficult to have much passion for a field that the school merely rents out.
“As a varsity football player for three years, I would have preferred that we played our games at a home field instead of Forest View,” said senior John Kaiser. “It was difficult to feel like we were defending our home field when it wasn’t even our field.”
Development of this sizable project will take place throughout the school’s backyard space along Dryden Avenue and is expected to be completed at some point in the next four to six years. Four brand-new fields are expected to be included in this design, with one varsity turf field, one practice turf field, and boy’s baseball and girl’s softball fields to the south. The initial plans call for each field to hold artificial turf and have artificial lighting.
Forest View field has been home to SVHS varsity athletics for thirty years. This agreement with Northwest Suburban High School District 214 involves a yearly rental fee for the use of the field. While Forest View field is certainly acceptable, most students would undoubtedly prefer a home stadium.
“I wish we had our own home stadium in previous years,” said junior Phu Truong. “I would enjoy practicing on a turf field without traveling or finding a ride to Forest View.”
Improvements for underclassmen hoping to find a ride to practice will barely scratch the surface of what this project hopes to accomplish for SVHS students. With this new on-campus athletic complex, students will finally be able to take pride in their campus—something many consider primarily lost with the current athletic structure.
“One of the missing things [from SVHS] is a sense of campus,” said senior Jimmy Doherty. “I believe that this multi-purpose athletic complex is a great way for the school to attract people—not only within recruiting but also from a student standpoint. The athletic complex will keep students participating and collaborating with one another.”
As this Capital Campaign project progresses and reaches developmental stages, it is crucial to consider the time and effort that is being poured into a project of this magnitude. It is very likely that in mere years from now, SVHS’ interior and surrounding campus will be unrecognizable compared to today. None of this would be possible without the innovative staff working to coordinate this project and SVHS’ generous alumni base, exchanging their hard work and time for a stake in the school’s future. This initiative is above all else being taken because SVHS is broken and needs repair. Instead, it is being made because SVHS can be better and must be better to serve its future fully.