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Fieldhouse blessing celebrates KCHS 3-phase growth

With Knoxville Catholic High School enrollment increasing by more than 50 percent since opening the doors of its Cedar Bluff campus in early 2000, athletic facilities expansion was necessary to keep pace.

Faris Field House — a major addition to KCHS's All Sports Complex costing “just over a million dollars ... with furnishings and everything,” said KCHS Principal Dickie Sompayrac — completed the school's three-phase Living Our Mission Through Growth Capital Campaign when it opened in February 2009.

This relatively new facility received a blessing from Bishop Richard Stika during a ceremony inside the fieldhouse’s Johnny Stallings Training Room, Sunday afternoon, Dec. 13.

Named for principal donors John J. and Sondra B. Faris that broke ground in July 2008, Faris Field House essentially doubles the size of All Sports Complex. It adds roughly 8,000 square feet to the complex's existing 7,800 square footage.

“In the name of the Diocese [of Knoxville], I just want to thank all those involved in all of the construction here at the high school,” Stika said. “... It's appropriate that we just bless this place with the spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude and the spirit of acknowledging the fact that God is good.

“To the Faris family and all those involved, in the spirit of gratitude from the diocese, I just offer my thanks.”

During the blessing, Sompayrac said the Faris couple “have given so much to our school though the years. ... Perhaps their greatest gift to Knoxville Catholic has been their gift of time.”

Johnny Stallings Training Room is named though connections with Gene Stallings, former football head coach at the University of Alabama.

KCHS supporters Tim and Robin Harris “gave a contribution to name our training room after Gene Stallings' son, John Mark [a Down syndrome victim], who passed away” last August, said Jason Surlas, KCHS athletics director.

Sompayrac also acknowledged LoCascio Family Conference Room “was made possible” through support from Dr. Steven LoCascio and wife, Christl.

Fox Family Head Coach's Office “is named for ... Terry and Daniel Fox,” said Sompayrac, who recognized various other KCHS boosters during the ceremony.

“This project wouldn't have been possible without our booster club.”

Surlas said demands for weight room access greatly have increased “in the last seven to 10 years” for all KCHS sports, male and female, in addition to football, as KCHS enrollment has grown to 665, up from 420 in 2000.

“This renovation allowed us to get all our programs in at the same time ... give them equal time,” Surlas added. “Before the renovation it was a real struggle for me as an athletics director to divvy out weight room time.”

Sompayrac added, “Kids were splitting lockers. It was a mess. ... I'm not sure everybody understands how many kids that are even non-athletes” using the new fieldhouse.

Mark Williamson, J.A. Fielding and Carson Branum were praised “from a construction standpoint, [they] stepped up at the very beginning of this project” to help the school build under “actual cost,” Sompayrac said, adding the cost otherwise could have run up to $1.3 or $1.4 million.


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