For over 75 years Cathedral High School students had to seek elsewhere for indoor space for their physical education classes and sporting events. The school maintained an open parcel of land adjacent to its home in the South End for all of those years. With a small park and an outdoor basketball court, it was used primarily by students at the school. Despite the interest of active neighborhood groups who wanted to see that parcel commercially developed, through the generosity of a broad range of benefactors a new gymnasium for the school was built. The new building is adjacent to the school and provides a regulation basketball court with ancillary facilities including locker rooms, a weight room and rest rooms.
Mr. Smith assisted in dealing with substantial permitting challenges, pursuing formal approvals required from several authorities including the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Boston Landmarks. Furthermore, community buy-in was a key component of the effort, requiring consensus building with a number of neighborhood associations, all of whom wanted input into the design of the building as well as the use to which it would be put. The site has poor soils, mostly urban fill, that elevated environmental concerns and presented engineering challenges for the foundation system. As an urban property, site access for construction presented another set of challenges.
The selection process for several members of the consultant team was directed by Mr. Smith. The efforts of the team, including an environmental firm, geotechnical engineers, and materials testing firm, in addition to the architect, construction manager and a host of engineering firms, was coordinated by Mr. Smith. Owner decisions were channeled through Mr. Smith and all financial dealings on the project were coordinated, monitored and tracked by Mr. Smith.