Children wearing hard hats mingled with community supporters and alumni at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Villa Madonna School Pavilion and Campus Renovation Project. The children, students of the Villa Madonna School and the Salesian Youth Center, wore the decorative headgear to celebrate a $ 2.77 million effort currently underway in Tampa Heights.
It has been 40 years since the track, basketball courts, kickball court and playing field were last renovated. When the last hammer ends in about seven months, these areas will be dramatically improved and a 17,000 square foot sports and special events pavilion will also be erected on campus. Every day, the students of the Villa Madonna school as well as the children of the Salesian Youth Center neighborhood will benefit from it.
âAt the inauguration, Reverend Gregory L. Parkes, Bishop of St. Petersburg, blessed the grounds,â said Cynthia Spano, director of alumni relations. âSister Joanne Holloman, Provincial Superior of the Salesian Sisters, shared what the project means for the Sisters and the children.
This means more opportunities for the children who attend the Villa Madonna school and the Salesian Youth Center. Since 1933 the Salesian Sisters of Saint John Basco have had an influence in the Tampa region. The property that encompasses the Villa Madonna School is minutes from downtown Tampa and was donated to the Sisters in 1936.
In 1995 the sisters opened the Salesian Youth Center and began offering an after-school program to children of Tampa Heights aged 5-18. The objective was to provide a safe place for neighborhood children to play and receive hot meals and academic support. The Center focuses on character building, service and the transmission of leadership ideals. Now, with planning from Cooper, Johnson Smith Architects and the workforce from Wichman Construction, the makeover should add another page to the organization’s 85-year history.
The effort is funded by the Oliva family. Mark Oliva, who sits on the board of the Salesian Partner Circle, hopes that the project will ultimately shape the lives of students and the community. Each year, more than 450 children in Tampa Heights are involved in the school and / or the center. And the Salesian Sisters, who aim to educate the young and care for the poor, will now have even more opportunities to accomplish their mission.
To support the Center, visit the Villa Madonna School Pavilion Project or send a check payable to the Salesian Sisters, attention Theresa Anderson, 315 W. Columbus Drive Tampa, FL 33602. For more information on the Order of the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, the largest congregation of nuns in the world, visits the Salesian sisters.
For more information, visit the Villa Madonna school.