Cardinal Gibbons Breaks Ground on Phil Smith Family Building
Erin Herbert

On Tuesday, June 4, Cardinal Gibbons High School held a ceremonial groundbreaking on their campus in Fort Lauderdale, where the school will begin construction on a new 20,000-square-foot STEAM building, The Phil Smith Family Building.

Over 100 Cardinal Gibbons faculty and staff, donors and community members gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking and dedication. The ceremony began with Cardinal Gibbons alumna Madeline Diamond, who graduated with the Class of 2019 in May, singing Schubert’s Ave Maria. Paul D. Ott, principal, Thomas E. Mahon, assistant principal of faculty development and future president, and Charlie Myers, a representative of the Smith family, whose foundation, The Phil and Susan Smith Family Foundation, pledged $750,000 toward the construction of the building, spoke of the innovation and opportunities this new academic wing will bring to Cardinal Gibbons.

“What we are doing here today is making sure that the opportunities for excellence at Cardinal Gibbons High School continue for decades to come,” Ott said. “It is so gratifying to see so many of our friends, parents and alumni, who have supported Cardinal Gibbons for so many years here today. The fact that these individuals keep coming back to support us is truly a testament to the outstanding work our teachers do and our school, as a whole, does.”

The ceremony concluded with a blessing of the grounds by Bishop Enrique Delgado, auxiliary bishop of Miami, and a ceremonial shoveling performed by key members of the Cardinal Gibbons administration team, as well as key donors and steering committee members, which included: Ott, Mahon, Susan Smith, Shawn Smith-Myers, John P. “Jack” Seiler, Oscar A. Cedeño Jr. and Bishop Delgado.

The addition of The Phil Smith Family Building to Cardinal Gibbons’ campus will bolster the school’s academic offerings in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics and will be the first building on the school’s campus completely dedicated to the academic areas incorporated within STEAM.

Myers, who gave remarks on behalf of the Smith family, said, “Cardinal Gibbons has given my family so much, it only made sense to give back and help future students.”

Construction on The Phil Smith Family Building is slated to begin in the summer of 2019. The new academic wing will feature a makerspace, choral room and secondary practice space, band studio, digital music lab, a Genius Room and television editing and production studios, as well as collaborative STEAM classrooms and labs. The courses that will be offered in The Phil Smith Family Building will afford Cardinal Gibbons students new opportunities to develop their interests within the realm of STEAM and gain knowledge as well as hands-on-experience that will prepare them to pursue undergraduate degrees in their chosen field.