In the past year we have outfitted the second-floor computer lab with state-of-the-art technology courtesy of Mr. Sam Leno ’64. The digital marquee that flashes up-to-the-minute Leo news to the world was a gift from the Leo Alumni Association. Ann Bigane Wilson, daughter of Bigane Paving founder Ed Bigane ’46, enabled the transformation of the main parking lot from eyesore to attraction, down to the orange striping that proclaims you could only be at Leo.
And, thanks to IBEW Local 134 stalwarts Don Finn ’85 and Harry Ohde ’72, we have seen what modern lighting, along with a fresh coat of paint, a refinished floor and new backboards, can do for a gym. Our iconic third-floor Den is still a bandbox and still 91 years old, but it has never looked better or felt more cozy—the Lions were 10-1 there this season, and a cameraman from NBC Sports Chicago told me he’d rather shoot at our place than the United Center.
Now it’s time to take it outside. This year, money raised from the 21st Century Campaign will be used to help bring our courtyard into the 21st Century.
“Curb appeal,” as they say in real estate, is an important aspect of our unceasing efforts to increase enrollment. There’s only so much we can do with a landlocked, 91-year-old building, but we’d like to move away from the “penal institution-chic” style of architecture that dominated school construction in the ’20s in favor of a look that is simply more welcoming.
The process actually began last year, at the unsuspecting behest of Tom Zbierski, our good friend from Big Shoulders Fund. The stern, dour expressions on the faces of the Irish Christian Brother ex-principals whose photos lined the walls of our main lobby prompted Tom to observe that “these guys look like prison wardens.”