On October 22 — the Feast of Pope St. John Paul II — José  Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, dedicated the newest building at Thomas Aquinas College — one named in the beloved saint’s honor.

Shortly after the luncheon celebrating the inauguration of Paul O’Reilly as the College’s fifth president, members of the college community made their way to the Pope St. John Paul II Athletic Center on the southwestern corner of the campus. Trustees of the Fritz Burns Foundation of Los Angeles, whose $15 million grant funded the building’s construction, joined His Excellency and college officials to celebrate the completion of the athletic center, which had a soft opening last spring.

Designed by alumnus architect Anthony Grumbine (’00), principal at the Santa Barbara office of Harrison Design, the 17,000-square-foot athletic center features a gymnasium for basketball and volleyball, separate men’s and women’s weight and workout rooms, and climbing and bouldering walls. Its outdoor amenities include a six-lane, 25-yard waveless lap pool; lighted outdoor tennis and basketball courts; new soccer and baseball fields; and a campus picnic area.

After his introductory remarks, O’Reilly welcomed Archbishop Gomez and Rex Rawlinson, the Fritz Burns Foundation’s president….

“A lot of places you go, they start a project, and then they start padding all the costs, and pretty soon things are out of hand, and then they want more money, and so on,” Mr. Rawlinson said. “Thomas Aquinas is not like that. They plan everything out, and they come in within budget, and you get more than you thought you were going to get.”

Archbishop Gomez then offered a prayer of blessing, accompanied by two appropriately themed readings —1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (“Run so as to win”) and Psalm 100 (“His steadfast love endures forever”) — before sprinkling the building’s walls with holy water. As Daniel Grimm (’76) led the Thomas Aquinas College Choir in a choral interlude, His Excellency continued the blessing inside the building, sprinkling the gymnasium, weight rooms, and locker rooms, as well as the swimming pool outside….

The above comes from an Oct. 28 release from Thomas Aquinas College.