The New Joseph L. Alioto Student Rec Center Takes Shape

beam signing ceremony for new Rec Center.Change is in the air (and on the ground) in the northwest corner of campus, on the site of the former Louis Guisto Baseball Field.  Anticipation has been building as the vacant lot started buzzing with activity on the Joseph L. Alioto Recreation Center, the new state-of-the-art student fitness facility scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.  One element missing from campus has been a dynamic student center, but thanks to the generosity of Saint Mary’s leadership donors, that is about to change.

On January 24, a gloriously sunny day, the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees hosted a “Gael Beam Ceremony” to acknowledge and thank the generous benefactors of the project.  Trustees’ Chair Meghan Leader ’87, MBA ’96, master of ceremonies for the proceedings, led off by welcoming President James A. Donahue; Diego Rios ’16, Soccer Club president; Bernie Orsi ’65, trustee of the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation; Moraga Mayor Ken Chew; Father John Morris, and Trustees, College leadership and staff.   She noted that the Alioto Rec Center is the cornerstone of the new Athletic and Recreation Corridor that includes the baseball park, Korth Tennis Complex and Cottrell Softball Field.

President Donahue remarked, “This is an exciting time at Saint Mary’s, with so many wonderful things beginning to happen.  At the heart of Saint Mary’s, first and foremost, is community, and the Alioto Recreation Center will be that community-building facility.  Thank you to Bernie Orsi and the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, the Korth family, the Syufy family and all of the other generous donors who have given to something very special that will enhance the life of the College.”

Diego Rios ’16, Soccer Club President, reiterated the president’s sentiments, noting “Great things are worth waiting for, and the wait is almost over.  This will not just be a rec center; it will be the hub of the campus, a place where we can share all that we love about this school.  Thank you to all of the donors; without you, none of this would be possible.”

Bernie Orsi ’65, representing the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation, recalled the sense of community he felt as a student here, saying that the new Alioto Recreation Center would provide “another element that will live on for the benefit of the students.”

Father John Morris then offered a blessing to all of the donors, the construction workers, and the students who will use the facility, noting that “they are the very reason we are all here.”  Following the blessing, the donors and Trustees were invited to sign a beam that was then lifted on a crane and put in place in perpetuity, a dramatic end to a very festive occasion.

The Alioto Recreation Center is expected to transform the recreational opportunities and social interactions of Saint Mary’s student community.  The 52,000-square-foot facility will include a leading edge fitness center with weight and cardio areas; three indoor courts for basketball, soccer and volleyball; group fitness rooms for classes in yoga, dance and spinning; a juice and snack bar; and a pool, lawn and outdoor patio that will link to the Korth Tennis Complex and the Cottrell Softball Field.

The College has secured 84 percent of the $23.5 million project, with $3.7 million remaining to be raised.  To help strengthen the Saint Mary’s student experience by making a donation, please contact Mark Chiarucci at (925) 631-4168 or or visit for more information.