The Student News Site of Saint Xavier High School

Borders Commons Cross Originally From Broadway Campus

January 25, 2022

As I have matured during my time at St. X, I have come to be extremely appreciative of the thoughtfulness and detail that goes into each part of our high school. I had the opportunity to offer the intentions during the liturgical portion (blessing) of the dedication of the Sangalli Interactive Learning Center. After the blessing was complete, members of the board, Mr. Colistra, and others were given time to speak to the audience about the new building and how the building has and will continue to impact the lives of the students. In attendance were donors and friends of the high school including the Xaverian Brothers who reside at Treyton Oak Towers.


One of the presenters was the architect of the Sangalli Learning Center, Mark Trier, a 1974 alumnus. He explained how he learned that St. X had come into possession of the original cross from the St. X campus on Broadway.


The Xaverian Brothers moved Saint Xavier High School to W. Broadway in 1891. The building St. X moved to was originally the Horatio Dalton Newcomb House, built around 1859. This mansion was one of many residences along Broadway. The school operated at this location for seventy years between 1891 and 1961. In 1956 the Federal Highway Act was passed, and highways were built rapidly across America. One of these highways is Interstate 65, which cuts through downtown Louisville. The Brothers lived a block from St. X and the construction of I-65 took down their residence. At this point, the Brothers saw an opportunity to move to a new location, to what they considered the country. The Brothers began building our current location here on Poplar Level and slowly the location on Broadway fell into disrepair. 


Broadway campus


During the last school year on Broadway, the building was falling down. This included the cross which stood atop the building. Very few students at this time had a car, but one of the few seniors who did have a car grabbed the cross and kept it. Work brought this man to Cincinnati and he continued to keep the cross in remembrance of his time at St. X. At some point this student reached out to St. X to say he had the cross and offered to return it to the school. At this point, no one knew or cared that he had the cross, but St. X retook possession of the cross in 2017 and stored it away. That is, until the construction of the new Sangalli Learning Center. 


Brothers relaxing in the courtyard of the Broadway campus


Mr. Trier, the architect, was moved by this story, and his team thought to include the cross in his design of the new Sangalli Learning Center. The cross now resides where the sky bridge used to be. Trier, a friend of Dr. Sangalli, was “extremely gratified” when the board made the decision to name the building after our former president.


“Dr. Sangalli initially commented that the Commons area does not need to be designed around the cross – yet in the final design, it is actually a central feature,” Trier commented. “However, it does not take away from the main goal of creating a wonderful student interaction space.”


Newly unveiled Sangalli Center


As I have reflected on the cross, I have come to see it as a tangible representation of what separates St. X from most high schools. A continual recommitment to our roots in Christ is what makes St. X different. As I pass this cross each day I see it as substantial evidence of how St. X was built on the foundation of Christ and, today and every day, recommits to the mission of providing the highest level of education to young men so as to foster respect, honor and service to God’s world.


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