South Charlotte

Charlotte Catholic considers expansion

Charlotte Catholic may look radically different in a few years if a school improvement plan is approved.

The school, at 7702 Pineville-Matthews Road in south Charlotte, could add a fine arts center, parking deck and sports complex.

Last spring, the Charlotte Catholic High School Foundation released a proposal, "Crystallizing the Vision, Reaching Our 21st Century Potential," outlining projects the foundation would like to see at the school.

"Basically what they have right now is a dream," said David Hains, a Charlotte Diocese spokesman. "They don't have a funding source or plan in place, and they don't even have a place to build some of this stuff. It's all kind of in dream mode right now."

But several parents, including Ann Hatton, say they hope to see the $16 million plan come to fruition soon.

"The community would definitely embrace it," said Hatton, PTO president for the 2011-12 school year. "It would be great for Charlotte Catholic."

Wirth and Associates helped create preliminary plans for the additions, based on surveys from parents and similar schools nationwide.

The company revealed its recommendations to the Charlotte Catholic community at the school's spring gala. The list includes:

A 35,000-square-foot fine arts center, which would include a 650-seat auditorium as well as art, drama and music classrooms;

A 330-space parking deck next to the current football field;

A 60-acre-plus sports complex that would include fields and courts for baseball, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, softball, tennis and track. The complex also would also include a cross country trail.

"The folks at Charlotte Catholic and the Diocese are dreaming of better things for the students there," said Hains, who added there's no specific timetable for when the plans might be realized - if they are at all.

First, leaders at the Diocese would need to approve the proposals. At that point, the Charlotte Catholic community could create a funding plan, said Hains.

He said the report highlights growing needs at Charlotte Catholic, currently one of only two high schools in the 46-county Diocese of Charlotte; the opening of Christ the King in the Lake Norman area this fall will mark the third high school in the Diocese.

From 1990 to 2000, the school's population grew nearly 48 percent, from 942 to 1,392.

Hatton said the new facilities likely would bring the growing community closer together - especially when it comes to increasing attendance at sporting events.

Although football and some indoor sports are played on the Charlotte Catholic campus, others requiring specialty fields are played elsewhere.

"I think it would do so much for school spirit. We've got great school spirt right now but this could make it even better," said Hatton. "I truly hope it becomes a reality."