A pair of modern classroom buildings are bound for Aquinas High School in San Bernardino as the private Catholic school looks to bolster innovative teaching practices and nurture creative minds.
Donations from the Shea family foundation, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Steinmann family and the Lemann family will cover the cost of construction.
A $500,000 endowment also will be established.
The Janice Lemann Center for the Visual and Digital Arts and the Steinmann Building will open ahead of the 2023-24 school year.
In a statement, Aquinas alum Bill Lemann said his wife has dreamed of creating a place at Aquinas that “will support our youth as they mature in an environment which will prepare them to lead the way.”
“Her dream is coming true at Aquinas,” he added, “with modern Visual Arts Academy facilities and resources which will help our students understand their history, their culture, their lives, all creating a shared indelible experience with teachers and fellow students in ways that cannot be achieved through any other means.”
Both 1,500-square-foot buildings will be in the grassy area near Reisch Stadium, and appear as mirror images of each other full of glass walls and the capacity for indoor and outdoor learning spaces.
Technology, robotics, and visual and digital arts will be taught inside.
A breezeway will split the facilities, allowing student work to be displayed for all to see. The passageway also will serve as the new entrance to Reisch Stadium.
Before Aquinas and San Manuel tribe officials broke ground on the site Tuesday, Aug. 23, Johnny Hernandez, vice chairman of the San Manuel tribe, expressed gratitude for the partnerships that made such a project possible.
“Jobs and technology are constantly evolving, and preparing the students who live right here in the Inland Empire with tools to be competitive in the jobs market, is key,” he said in a news release. “Every student should have access to their dream career, and these new state-of-the-art buildings will inspire kids to dream big.”