Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
July 9, 2001
Knights to fund St. Joe's theatre
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — The Edmonton area Knights of Columbus have agreed to fund the $500,000 completion of the theatre housed in St. Joseph's High School.
"It's a long overdue partnership with Edmonton Catholic Schools," Lito Reyes, immediate past Alberta and NWT state deputy, told the WCR.
"The K of C has many projects and one of them is supporting Catholic education," Reyes added.
"For years in Edmonton, K of C was associated with minor hockey leagues," said Past Grand Knight Pat Burrant of St. Charles Council 8825.
"I guess this (project) is going to allow us to be seen in a different light," said Burrant, who co-chairs the project committee.
Raising funds for this project will involve all K of C councils in the Edmonton area.
"There's been a lot of hurdles," said Burrant, who is also a junior high teacher at J.J. Bowlen Catholic School.
According to Burrant, there was difficulty in getting the approval of Alberta Gaming Commission to use casino and bingo funds to fund the project.
"The K of C doesn't have $10,000 sitting around," he said.
"We wouldn't be ashamed to take money from anyone. We need help to get (the project) publicized to the business community especially to the alumni of St. Joe's," said Grand Knight Fred Prather of St. Nicholas Council 8314, the other co-chair of the committee.
The committee is hoping to derive half of the budget from government grants. Believing the project will go a long way, Reyes said the K of C involvement is just a part of a bigger project.
When finished, the theatre will be open for use by the whole community and not exclusively by Edmonton Catholic Schools and the Knights. Public schools, youth groups, Columbian choirs, amateur and professional drama groups, among others, are welcome to use the facility with a minimal fee.
The idea for the project came from Hank Meronyk, a retired school teacher who is a K of C member.
In its present condition the 270-seat facility is of limited usefulness. "The function is very limited," principal Ron Woytiuk of St. Joseph High School told the WCR in a separate interview.
"We use it for concerts, for assemblies, for meetings and other functions, but the acoustics are not very good, there is no sound and light systems," Woytiuk said.
When St. Joseph was completed, a section was built that would be the home of a theatre for the district. Funding for the theatre was not included in the project so it was not completed.
"It was left in limbo and it sat like that for about three years," said Woytiuk, who has been St. Joseph's principal for five years.
The facility is currently a dingy concrete structure.
In an agreement between the school district and the Knights, signed June 25, both parties itemized the benefits the project will generate.
The highlights include:
"We don't look for an advantage," said Prather. "We look for an opportunity to help the community."
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