Capital campaign under way to build facility at Kenton site
by: L.E. BASKOW, De La Salle player Royshad Curry gets inside teammate Robert Auger for a shot during practice at the Salvation Army on North Williams Avenue. The private school is advancing a capital campaign to build its own full-size gymnasium.

Athletics at De La Salle North Catholic High School is not as important as academics and work, but the Class 2A school plans to build a full-size gymnasium on its campus in the near future.

'It will get done eventually,' says Chris Shine, director of donor development. 'Students here deserve to have a facility that they can call their own. And, no matter how forward-thinking and self-interested an eighth-grade child is, a good athletic facility (at a high school) will catch their eye more than a corporate internship program.'

Half of a $6 million capital campaign has been raised and mostly spent to renovate the building, the old Kenton School at 7528 N. Fenwick Ave., De La Salle's home since September 2007. The rest of the money will go toward a gym on the east side of the school, on North Lombard Avenue.

'We have some prospects and asks out there,' Shine says. 'Over the next six months, we'll have a better idea of how quickly we can move forward, and maybe we can look at breaking ground in 2009.'

The school has a smaller gymnasium that doubles as a cafeteria and gathering area.

De La Salle touts the fact that 100 percent of its 2007 graduating class went on to college. The school has been successful with its corporate internship program -it puts kids to work around town in exchange for pay from companies that helps with tuition and costs.

The school is part of the Cristo Rey network of 19 schools, including De La Salle High in Concord, Calif., which has one of the country's famed football programs.

The Portland school has 272 students and wants to top out at 350. Students wear uniforms, and athletics has produced some standout individuals, such as soccer's Luke Johnson; basketball's Will McCoy and Donta Harris; track's Catherine Sims, Tiffany Owens and Zechariah NcLaurin; and volleyball-track's Daedra Carline. Among team highlights: the 2004 boys soccer team finished second in state, the '07 volleyball team made the final eight and the '08 boys basketball team placed sixth.

'All we try to do is match the vision for the school - college prep and corporate internships,' says Dennis Carline, athletic director and former Benson girls basketball coach.

Most games are held at night so they don't interfere with jobs. 'Knock on wood, most of the varsity kids have made their events,' Carline says.

The De La Salle boys basketball team plays at the Salvation Army gym on North Williams Avenue, where the volleyball team also played. The school also uses facilities at Holy Redeemer School, the Blazers Boys and Girls Club, University of Portland and Concordia University, along with Delta Park for soccer. And the school has cross country, track and field, swimming and golf programs, competing at various venues in Portland.

Carline says he's looking into starting a football program that would play eight-man ball. It'd have to play an independent schedule, since only Class 1A schools play eight-man football, and the Knights wouldn't be in position to ramp up to play in the Class 2A Northwest League.

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