New admin building at Aquinas provides new gateway to campus


SAN BERNARDINO—The makeover of the north end of campus at San Bernardino Aquinas High School continues with the opening of a new administration building that now serves as the new entry way for those visiting the school.

 The Lemann Leadership Center, named in honor of Aquinas alumnus and significant benefactor Bill Lemann, opened in March, relocating administrative offices from the east end of the school quad to the north entrance to campus. Historically, the main entrance to campus has been from Date Street, but that often meant finding the administrative office to check in a bit confusing for visitors.

 “The front end of the school needed to change,” says Aquinas President Jim Brennan. “Now all of the public checks in here before they get down to campus.”

 The 3,700 square foot building contains seven offices, includes those of Brennan and Aquinas Principal Chris Barrows, a conference room and other amenities for administrative staff. A majority of the approximately $1 million construction cost was funded by the Shea Family Foundation, a strong supporter of Catholic schools in the Diocese.

 “We were anticipating that we were going to grow,” Brennan says. “We’re opening up more space on the quad for student classrooms and offices.”

 The former administration building is now the Student Services Center, which houses offices for attendance, discipline, counseling and technology support. Those services were formerly located in offices in the F Building of campus. Those rooms now become added classroom space which is timely because enrollment at Aquinas is projected to reach 530 students by the start of next school year.

 Meanwhile, construction continues on the more high profile Performing Arts Center at Aquinas. The 17,000 square foot building is scheduled to be completed in June. Initial discussions a decade ago about facility upgrades at Aquinas centered on the performing arts building and a new gymnasium, says Brennan. Through the continued generosity of the Shea Foundation, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and several alumni funding for an administration building was achieved.

 Lemann,  who also has the school’s baseball complex named in his honor, said Aquinas provided him a solid foundation and he’s gratified to give back to the school.

 “Aquinas has always been a beacon of hope and strength for our local students and the Diocese, and I am privileged to have enjoyed the many advantages in life afforded me by my lifetime Aquinas experience,” he said. “I am grateful to have received so much more than I have given and I always recall my dear mother’s admonition: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’ ”