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Columbus breaks ground on “game changer" new building

By Eddie Lopez


On April 29, members of the Christopher Columbus High School faculty, students, staff and alumni guests gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in Columbus at the groundbreaking of the Alvarez Family Building.  The donation from the Alvarez family brings new beginnings to Columbus and looks to modernize the A building on the campus.

Shovels and hardhats were set up and ready to go prior to the event while band director Mr. Cooper plays the Star Spangled Banner.Photo Credit: Br Eladio

The plans for the new building started in September of 2023 when Maximo Alvarez, founder and president of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, along with his family, made a generous donation to renovate the historic A building. 


The A building pictured in 1978 Credit: Floridamemory.com

The iconic A building which was built in 1958, was the first building constructed when the school opened and remains a staple of our campus being the first building that we see every morning. 


The new renovations will see the Principal's office along with other members of faculty being moved downstairs, classroom renovations, as well as beautification such as landscaping and a new sign. 


Pictured above are renderings of the Alvarez family building

To Mr. Alvarez, this donation means much more than just recognition for a contribution. His love for Marist education stems all the way back to his roots in Havana, Cuba. Attending the Maristas school in Havana, he gained a deep appreciation and love for the Marist way of life. 


 “I owe everything I have today to so many different people but one of the ones on the top of the list is the Marist brothers where I revived my formal education. .. I am getting all of this recognition because I made a donation but what I learned from the Marist brothers is that when you give out something as charity you do not expect anything in return. All of this recognition I received today is not what I consider charity”, said Alvarez. 

Mr. Alvarez who was part of Operation Pedro Pan, came to the U.S. at age 13 and understands what it means to be able to give back after receiving the opportunity to come to the U.S.


“I gave this because I think I must pay back something of what I received when I came to this country with nothing, this is the only country that has provided us with the opportunity to reach our God given potential, whatever that may be”, Alvarez added.

The Alvarez family is also deeply rooted in the history of Columbus as Maximo’s children Maximo R. and Eduardo, both attended the school along with his nephew Sam who is graduating this year. 

The Alvarez family poses for a picture with the Marist brothers on front of the A building. Credit: Mike Montero

The generous donation allows for Columbus to do something they have wanted to do for a while now and is just the beginning of the evolution of our campus. 


“This was a game changer for us because what it gave us the ability to do was to renovate this building. We’ve been wanting to do that for quite some time now and when we presented this project to Mr. Alvarez and his family, they loved the idea. Eventually we’ll want to do the B, C, and D buildings but for now this gives us the chance to start”, said President Kruczek.

 

The donation will propel Columbus to new heights, adding to the already top notch quality of facilities, according to Mr. Kruczek.


“It’s really a matter of making sure that all of our buildings look great and we want to make sure we have the best facilities, best classrooms for you guys, I think that’s the most important thing for us so we’re always thinking how we can improve the campus”, Kruczek said.

Columbus plans to begin building in June and hopefully finish by the time class resumes next August. 



 


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