It was ribbon-cutting time Sunday for Nardin Academy, which officially opened its new sports park in North Buffalo.
It's on an old industrial site flanked by the Mod-Pac plant and Buffalo's Belt Line and shadowed by the tall smokestack of the old Pierce-Arrow plant. The complex is named for local industrialist Kevin Keane, who was chairman of Mod-Pac.
Mod-Pac cleaned up the site and Nardin paid $7-$8 million to build playing fields. It was part of a $20 million fund drive -- the largest in the school's history -- that paid for a new gym on the Nardin campus on Cleveland Avenue and indoor facilities adjacent to the new fields.
Nardin President Marsha Sullivan said it is a lot for the school.
"There's two full turf playing fields, one full-size international field and one collegiate-size field and they are the finishing product of an indoor athletic center that is also adjacent to this property that has been our project that we have worked on with Mod-Pac," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the squash complex, which it shares with Canisius High School, is the largest this side of Albany. The building also includes an indoor soccer practice area.
The Nardin president said sports is an integral part of the school's academic environment, with around 90% of the 400 high school students at the school playing at least one sport.
"Sports are as important to girls as they are to boys, at this stage of the game," Sullivan said. "It behooves Nardin Academy, if we say we have this base of excellence, it can't just be in academics. We have to be excellence across the board. So we found an incredibly generous partner in this property and we're able to realize this."