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Watch an animation depicting the phasing of the new St. Augustine School.

Vic Vela, Chair of the Faith and Foundation
Building Committee
Pass the Torch, May 1, 2010


Another Step Toward the Foundation

Good evening everyone. I’m Vic Vela, Chair of the Faith and Foundation Building Committee. Pass The Torch is always a great night, special martinis, dancing, our friend Bill Vander Zalm. And tonight is a particularly good one. We have some very good news to share with you.

Tonight, it is my privilege to announce that we are making our first formal move to building a new school and to getting shovels in the ground.

Last fall, we proposed to the community that it was time to explore whether the school could be built in phases... a school first, then a new gymnasium and underground parking garage.  After plenty of consultation we were convinced that we had your support to proceed to see if this option was feasible, economically and practically.

Our first step was to seek the approval of Archbishop Miller. We received the blessing of the Diocese last month, and have hired award-winning local architects to help us figure out the best phasing proposal that will work within the City requirements.

The firm, Acton Ostry, ( was selected by a committee of, Father Cook, Cathie Oberndorf, Linda Arnold, Cliff Nipp (Finance Chair) myself, Nick Maille and Marko Simcic. Acton Ostry was picked  out of 18 applicants. They were our top pick. They won because they impressed us with their ability to listen to and understand our needs and they have excellent experience in designing beautiful and unique buildings for school communities, as well as dealing with complicated building issues and working well with the city.

The architects, Russell Acton and Alex Percy , are with us tonight. Please stand up, as we would like to give you a warm St. Augustine’s welcome.

With their assistance we’ll be able to resolve questions about how we can phase the school in a timely, cost effective way and adhere to a number of complicated city building regulations. Over the next three months, we’ll get important answers, including more accurate building costs, which will lay the groundwork for the next phase of our project.

All of this has happened thanks to some diligent work by Marko Simcic, Nick Maille and Linda Cormano and our greater Faith and Foundation committee. Your passionate and generous support, in particular, at this evening’s event which has been and continues to be a cornerstone of our fund raising efforts, has allowed us all to get to where we are tonight. Year after year you’ve given generously and honestly and it’s a big part of what’s kept our team’s morale high and our enthusiasm at the forefront. We have a great community and it’s good to know you can do all that while having a glass of wine!

I especially want to thank Father Gordon Cook for his support through a particularly intense period of preparation that led up to this announcement. And as a symbol of our eventual ground breaking ceremony, and the fact that I’m a safety first guy, I would like to present Father Cook with an honorary HARD HAT. 

Father, please be ready to use this hat because with support like we see here tonight and the feasibility study now under way, we are even closer to our goal.

Thank you all. Enjoy the evening.

Russell Acton, architect to the parish, and Building Committee members Nick Maile and Vic Vela review the contractor bids at the John Paul Centre, October 8, 2013

Phasing the New School