Inside look at construction at Pope Francis High

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Construction is moving full steam ahead on the new Pope Francis High School in Springfield.

The new Pope Francis High School is being built on the site of the old Cathedral High School on Surrey Road.  The old school was destroyed by a tornado six years ago.

The project is time and on budget.

“It’s more than a building.  This is a merger of legacy schools.  It’s about the future of Catholic education,” said Paul Harrington, head of Pope Francis High School.

Harrington said that the new Pope Francis High School is much different from traditional Catholic schools built in the 50’s and 60’s

“It’s much more modernized thinking, more like what our students would see in the workplace when they graduate from college,” Harrington explained.

The school features an open concept with multiple function learning areas.

Western Mass News was allowed inside the school for an exclusive look at the ongoing construction.

On the ground floor, the 500 seat auditorium and theater is taking shape.

The school’s chapel is also located on the ground floor, as well as offices and cafeteria.

Classrooms on the second floor and the science wing and labs on the third floor.

An aerial view from the Western Mass News SkyDrone showed the athletic fields, which are located behind the school.

Outside the main student entrance will be a plaza named in honor of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan of Springfield, who was killed two years ago trying to protect others during a shooting incident in Chattanooga, TN.

Today, the construction zone is a beehive of activity as the project moves forward.

“Things are going smoothly.  On an average day, we have 90 men from the different trades putting things together,” said Mark Hogan, project superintendent with Fontaine Brothers.

School officials said that the focus at Pope Francis will also include reaching out to the community.

“This is not just about Catholic education, but a place people want to to touch and feel and get to know our space, what we’re about.” Harrington explained.

As for enrollment, Pope Francis expects to have a freshman class of 100 when it opens in the fall of 2018.

The school is being built to accommodate up to 500 students.

CLICK HERE to see more pictures from our exclusive look at the construction

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