Cathedral High School will reopen and hold a dedication ceremony this afternoon for the Cunningham Fine Arts Center. The $1.5 million project adds classroom space and expanded studio space.

December 12, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Stephen J. Helmich, president of Cathedral High School, announces the reopening and dedication of the school’s Cunningham Fine Arts Center, at 5 pm, Friday, December 12, 2014. Originally a carriage house for the Fletcher estate, the space was converted to Cunningham Hall, a fine arts and music building in 1997 thanks to a leadership gift from local businessman J. Michael Cunningham. The new renovation was funded by donations from the recent Faith in the Future capital campaign with the lead gift for the project coming from Cunningham.

Over the past decade, while high school arts budgets have continued to be slashed, Cathedral has continued to invest in arts education.

“Being a Holy Cross high school (the only one in Indiana) means we committed to the Holy Cross ideal of holistic development, educating both hearts and minds,” says President Helmich. “One important element of that is making sure every one our students develops an appreciation for, an understanding of, and experiences the arts. Each Cathedral student completes two credit hours in fine arts prior to graduation. In addition, an extra effort is made to engage students in music and musical performance. Cathedral currently offers four band and five choir experiences—and one in every ten Cathedral students is a member of Cathedral’s marching band, The Pride of the Irish.”

According to Jim McLinn, vice president for operations, Cunningham Fine Arts Center originally was designed to serve 600 students in 8,000 square feet of space, which included music classrooms, ceramics studios, painting studios, and band practice space. The new addition and renovation—the first since 1997—provides a much-needed expansion of classroom and storage space for the fine arts and music departments which now serve well over 900 students each semester at Cathedral.

The updates and expansion allow more students than ever to participate in:


The renovations and additions include an expanded ceramics studio with a kiln room accessible from the classroom. The classroom will also include 16 pottery wheels and three work tables.

-Digital Art

In 1997 when Cunningham was first renovated, demands of technology were small. But now, classes like digital arts and media rely heavily on the use of computers, printers, scanners and other technology that needs access to electrical outlets—which were scarce at best in current classrooms. In addition to a new graphics classroom with 23 work stations, the electrical wiring of the building has been significantly updated.

-Band and Orchestra

The band room was originally designed to accommodate up to 60 students. However, through successful efforts by Cathedral’s band directors, the band program has grown substantially to 125 students. Improvements in the music department include a new band room that is more than double the previous size, dedicated and temperature-controlled instrument storage, a music library, a band office and an expansive orchestra and choir room large enough to accommodate all students in one room. The addition of a 180-inch monitor allows all band members to view instructional videos at one time.

Now, the Cunningham Fine Arts Center can serve 1,250 students participating in fine arts and music classes. Four teachers lead courses ranging from ceramics, architecture, printmaking, drawing, jewelry, visual design, painting and photography to keyboard, strings, percussion, chorus, music theory and composition. The once modest marching band of 63 members has also grown to well over 125 members.

In addition to the leadership gift from Michael Cunningham, Cathedral High School also recognized Kristin and Mike Berghoff of Lenex Steel for their most generous contribution as well as Tony Noble and his team at TWG.

The dedication and blessing of the new Cunningham Fine Arts Center takes place at 5 pm, Friday, December 12, on the Cathedral High School campus. All are welcome.

5:00 pm Remarks by President Helmich

5:15 pm Blessing, Fr. John Zahn

5:18 pm Ribbon cutting: Steve Helmich, Jim McLinn, Mike Cunningham, Mike Berghoff, and TWG.

5:20 pm Tours and hors d’oeuvres

About Cathedral High School

Cathedral is a private, independent, Catholic, college-preparatory school serving approximately 1,300 students in grades 9 to 12. The school was founded in 1918 by the Brothers of Holy Cross and for 95 years has followed the philosophy of profoundly shaping how young men and women think, serve, and lead. For more information, visit

Source: Cathedral High School

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