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Giving Tuesday 2021 - Refresh the Rec Center!

This Giving Tuesday, on November 30th, we are asking for your help as we “Refresh the Rec Center” and prepare to re-open our gym!

Our beloved St. Viator Recreation Center, a gathering place for the entire St. Viator community, has had a rough couple of years. It sat empty and mostly unused as the pandemic stretched on, gathering dust and cobwebs as we longed for basketball games, pancake breakfasts, Scout meetings, Winterfest, volleyball tournaments, parish celebrations, and fundraising galas - all the things that bring us together in friendship and faith.

Just as things were returning to “normal”, a water main under the gym floor broke on Father’s Day 2021. The flooding ruined our treasured gym floor, which was originally from the 1950s and had been lovingly and meticulously maintained over all those years. Thus began a months-long process of removal and replacement, extending the closure of the gym and rec center well beyond the pandemic-imposed restrictions. Fall sports and school/parish events were up-ended, and St. Viator students have been doing gym class everywhere but the gym - outside, in the parish hall, and even in the cafeteria.

The good news is that the wait is almost over! Workers are putting the finishing touches on our brand-new gym floor (including a new painted Eagle in the center), while the Athletic Association and parent volunteers are working hard to get the rest of the building in tip-top shape again. The To-Do list includes deep cleaning (kitchens, bathrooms, locker rooms), lots of painting, and installing new flooring in the hallways, lobbies, and meeting rooms. $7,000 covers a complete refresh of the first floor. An additional $11,000 covers a complete refresh of the second floor as well.

Please help us reach our $18,000 goal to Refresh the Rec Center!

$25 - Dust Some Cobwebs!

$50 - Let’s Paint!

$100 - Steam Clean Those Bathrooms!

$150 - Ahhh, That New Carpet Smell!

$250+ - Your Name in Lights! (ok, it’s actually an engraved brick plate)

History, Nostalgia, and Renewal

The St. Viator recreation center was constructed in the late 1950s on the north end of the school campus. Officially, the Recreation Center is dedicated as the “Fr. Edward Cardinal, C.S.V., Recreation Center,” in honor of the St. Viator Pastor at the time the center was built. Throughout the years, thousands of students and community members have utilized the gym and the recreation center. Our student-athletes practice and play there, host visiting teams from other Catholic Schools, and fill weekends with intramural tournaments. We are known to have the best gym in the league! St. Viator students enjoy their Physical Education class in the gym. And the activities stretch beyond athletics. The gym is utilized for school dances, fundraising events, and community activities like Bingo Nights and the Winterfest Mistletoe Market. The Recreation Center also has room for people to gather. There is a second-floor meeting room where the St. Viator Men’s Club and Knights of Columbus meet, and a dedicated room for our Boy and Girl Scouts. These activities empower our school community, strengthen our connection to the local community, and connect us to the larger Chicago Catholic School Community.

All of these wonderful activities have taken a bit of a toll over the years, and the Recreation Center is showing signs of wear and tear. The Rec Center Refresh will give the first floor of our rec center a “mini-makeover” with some fresh paint, decorative bricks, and safer flooring. We plan to repaint all of the walls in the original color pallet, using the correct shades of yellow and blue in the school colors. We plan to utilize decorative memorial bricks to give new life to exposed, aged bricks that we can’t clean. And we plan to encapsulate our old floor tiles and cover them with an attractive, safe flooring option.

Your memories may be of your son scoring a winning basket, your granddaughter serving her first “ace”, a first school dance, mind-wracking trivia, B-4 (and after!) for the BINGO win, Mardi Gras fundraisers, pounds of walking tacos, maybe a Kindergarten Graduation. Whatever happy memories connect you to the St. Viator Recreation Center, we hope they inspire you to contribute to our renovation project this Giving Tuesday.

The Fr. Edward Cardinal, C.S.V., Recreation Center has a long history as a gathering place for the entire St. Viator Community, and with this project, and your help, we can prepare it for many more years and many more memories. We can’t wait to open the doors and welcome our community’s coming! Please consider donating to St. Viator Elementary School and help our project take flight!

We are Peace Builders. We are Eagles. We are St. Viator!

Giving Tuesday, this year on November 30, 2021, is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of radical generosity to transform communities and the world. Learn more at


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