Expansion at Bellarmine Prep set to begin

Tacoma’s Bellarmine Preparatory, one of the region’s leading secondary schools, is taking additional strides toward the future. Construction will begin June 13 on the renovation and remodeling of Snyder Hall.

Jack Peterson, president of the 74-year-old school, announced that Bellarmine is planning a major addition to its 30-year-old science and mathematics building, Snyder Hall, doubling the square footage to 36,000 square feet. The original building was made possible by a gift from the Frost and Margaret Snyder family for whom the building is named.

The expanded center will encompass state of the art mathematics, science and technology resources, “to equip our students for a 21st century world,” notes Peterson. “Our students will have access to the tools vital to succeed, both in higher education and within the workplace. Advanced technology, hands-on learning, and critical thinking through experimentation will all be available to students.”

Ten new classrooms and laboratories will be housed in the expansion, including mathematics, biology and Bellarmine’s highly acclaimed marine chemistry program. The general contractor for the 15-month project is Merit Company and the architect is Merritt+Pardini.

“We cannot afford to delay this project,” notes Board Chair Melanie Dressel. “The requirements which universities place on incoming students in the fields of science and mathematics cannot be met by our current facilities and technologies.” Funding for the project is still in progress.

In addition to many private gifts including a $20,000 from the Seattle Archbishop, several local foundations have provided major grants to Bellarmine for the project. They include The Ben Cheney Foundation ($100,000), The Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation ($75,000), the Medina Foundation ($50,000), the recently formed Russell Family Foundation ($100,000), and the Frost and Margaret Snyder Foundation, representing the estate of the original donors, ($300,000).

In late April, at the school’s annual auction, patrons contributed over $46,000 to supply the 25 workstations for the new technology lab and an $82,000 software gift from Microsoft was announced. The software will be used to equip the new workstations.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m. at Snyder Hall on the Bellarmine campus, 2300 S. Washington. The public is invited.