DIGNITARIES and Jesuit fathers will lead in the much-anticipated inaugural blessing rites of the P200-million-worth Grade School (GS) and Administration buildings of Ateneo de Iloilo-Santa Maria Catholic School this Friday, December 8, at the Atria Park District, San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
Alumnus and business magnate Dr. Henry Chusuey of GS Batch ‘68 will lead the ribbon-cutting rites. He will team up with Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo DD, Jesuit Provincial Fr. Primitivo Viray SJ, and school president Fr. Joseph Haw SJ, in the ceremony that will kick off in the Central Administration building at 4 p.m. Celebrative activities, highlighted by the display of Atenean talents, will be showcased in the whole duration of the event that will culminate through a dinner party in the Chusuey gymnasium at 6 p.m.
Both four-storey structures are situated adjacent to the High School building and the Chusuey gymnasium inside the 7.5-hectare compound of the school. The Administration building is named after its major donor, Dr. Chusuey, for continuing the legacy of his parents, Alfonso and Virginia, in supporting the Jesuits in its education ministry in Iloilo. It will eventually house the main school lobby, offices of the president and other school administrators, accounting and registrar’s offices, and fully air-conditioned institutional library and auditorium which are all on its finishing stage. On the other hand, the Grade School building is currently operational and shelters all the pre-school and grade school classrooms, guidance offices, learning resource centers, playground, multi-purpose hall, faculty room, and consultation stations. In its fourth floor, it also holds the Senior High School (SHS) Grade 12 classrooms, faculty room, science laboratories, and computer laboratories that house both PC and Mac platforms.
This phase of the Ateneo construction project started in June, 2013 with only P4 million, donated by the Chinese Province of the Society of Jesus, as a start-up capital. It was eventually sustained by the concerted effort of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus, the different Jesuit universities and schools in the Philippines, and institutional and individual donors.
“It was all by God’s grace that the buildings were realized four years after its ground breaking,” Fr. Haw said, adding: “Both the Grade School building and the Dr. Henry O. Chusuey Administration building are testaments to the school community's total trust in God's providence. We began with very limited resources but with full of trust in God.”
“Since He inspired us to begin this project, we have faith that He will also see us through its completion. This is not a work only of a single person, but truly a fruit of collaboration of many generous institutions and individuals who believe in the Jesuit tradition of love, service, and excellence.”
Fr. Haw said further: “the building aims to deliver its promise of providing our stakeholders in particular, and Iloilo City in general, a premier basic education institution that is responsive to the demands of the 21st century learning skills. We continue to upgrade our facilities to allow collaboration, critical thinking, communication, and creativity.”
Currently, the school is preparing for the construction of the Jesuit residence located near the Chusuey gymnasium. Also in its pipeline, according to the school’s comprehensive development plan, are a school chapel, a football field, the SHS building, a swimming pool, and a track and field complex, among others./Ripples