La Salle Prep has launched a campaign to raise $5 million to renovate and expand its indoor athletic facilities.
The project calls for a complete renovation of existing facilities, including redesigned locker, team, and training rooms, relocation of the fitness center, and a new hardwood court in the gym. A 3,200-square-foot expansion that will partially enclose an existing courtyard will include a student commons, a health and physical education classroom, athletic department offices, a coaches’ center, and public restrooms.
The renovated athletic complex will be named the Saalfeld Athletic Center in honor of the late Father Lawrence J. Saalfeld, who was the pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie, a La Salle Prep Trustee, and a devoted fan of the Falcons.
La Salle has secured $3 million in pledges to date; it hopes to raise the remaining $2 million by the end of 2019.
“The Saalfeld Athletic Center will greatly improve student safety and access, expand the curricular opportunities for health and P.E., and encourage participation in high school athletics, which plays an important role in the development of our students,” said Matt Winningham, executive director and chief financial officer of La Salle.
“The transformed facility will expand the opportunities our students will have to use physical fitness, health education, and athletics to develop healthy habits, reduce stress, and manage anxiety.”
'Improving the experience for all'
The $3 million raised so far includes a $1 million pledge from longtime La Salle benefactors Jim and Linda Pliska. Jim Pliska, a 1977 graduate of La Salle, believes the improvements will have a positive and lasting impact on the school built in 1966.
“The new and improved athletic facilities will help bring together students, faculty, alumni, and the greater community by showing that La Salle is committed to excellence in academics and athletics, and improving the experience for all,” he said.
In addition to the Pliskas’ pledge, La Salle has received $1 million from the late Elsie Franz Finley, who was the first female on La Salle’s Board of Trustees, and her businessman brother, the late Robert W. Franz. La Salle also has received $500,000 from the family of Gene and the late Betty Feltz; the couple’s legacy at La Salle includes nine children and five grandchildren.
“We are humbled by the profound generosity and commitment these families have to our shared Lasallian mission, and we will work diligently to ensure our students reap the benefits of their philanthropic investment,” said Winningham.
Since it opened in 1966, La Salle has hosted thousands of athletes and fans from public as well as private schools. In addition, nonprofits such as Camp Exceptional, Bustin' Barriers, and the Catholic Youth Organization, have used its facilities for camps and events. La Salle's campus also has been used by the Mt. Hood Challenge Soccer Tournament, Northwest United Women’s Soccer League, Advanced Athlete Academy, and the Portland Trailblazers Dance Team.
$2 million needed by December
Winningham said La Salle needs to raise $2 million more by the end of 2019 in order to open the Saalfeld Athletic Center next fall.
“It is an admittedly aggressive timeline,” he said, “but it is what our students need. I have confidence our community will step up to make this project a reality for our kids.”