The Paul Keane Gymnasium is named after the Chairman of the Board of Directors of St Mary’s College Auckland Ltd. The vast space of the gym never feels overwhelming, it has a human scale where you integrate with the architecture. You are a participant and not the spectator inside some grandiose monument. Paul never mentions that the gym won the prestigious 2014 PCNZ Excellence Award for outstanding delivery of value as well as project innovation, design and construction.
Paul Keane is a person who gets to the heart of a matter quickly and without frills. “Chairman is just a word, you lead people in such a way that they buy in. It’s not about being pushy, but if people believe in what they’re doing you get the right results”.
“When I got to St Mary’s I soon discovered it had an outstanding Principal-Sandy Pasley (nearly 10 years). She was keen to see the college move forward, the existing facilities were very tired. The first couple of years we did a bit of research to see how we could improve the facilities and how we could raise funds”. After sourcing finance the Board of St Mary’s and the management team started work. “We built our first six classrooms and then following that we built another six and the management offices. Following that we provided facilities for staff and it just grew. I guess with that the skill of the management team at the college we ended up with a pretty successful college over a 10 year period”.
“We had Sister Loreto who at been at the college 50 years at the time, she died suddenly a couple of weeks ago after over 60 years dedicated service to the College. She’d been a teacher and stayed on post her teaching career, as part of the administration team. Although she didn’t want it, we named a new school building after her; the “Sister Loreto Building” (Art/Religious Studies block). Now her memory lives on, those are the sort of satisfactions you get. New buildings emerging from bare land, people occupying those same buildings and bringing those buildings to life is a pretty good result. We’ve seen the college grow from 500 to just on a 1000 students in over a 10 year time frame”.
“We continue to roll out quality students. The fact that Mercy delivers quality people is pretty important. They do that by a culture that’s developed over a century. The fact is that students want to be at the college. Going forward we want students to continue say they want to be there. My role and that of our board is to see that the culture of Mercy is maintained and that the buildings are kept up to speed. I hope the 10 year plan we created, continues to evolve with buildings continuing to be improved long after I’m gone. I hope in the future people can say that the people that were on our board (my generation) did the right thing. The students performing better in improved facilities means a lot to us, a building is only a living thing because of what’s inside it, bringing it to life”.
When you “Google” Paul Keane, you face a mountain of information. Articles he’s written are reprinted in the NBR, private companies use his work as an example of excellence. It is perhaps an indicator of Paul’s nature, his real pride is in knowing that his granddaughter may soon be at the college he helped to build.
All images courtesy of RCG