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Canisius High School dedicates two new buildings on cozy campus

Given its cozy Delaware Avenue location, any new building at Canisius High School is headline news.

Two new buildings and it becomes the most ambitious expansion since the Jesuit school outgrew its downtown roots and moved to the Delaware District 65 years ago.

And that is why they celebrated the dedication Wednesday of the new Montante Academic Hall and Bernard J. Kennedy Field House.

"This is our way of giving back to the school that gave us so much," said Carl Montante Sr., a prominent local developer.

The $15.5 million expansion, which adds about 55,000 square feet of space to the Canisius campus, was built with the support of two families well known in business and philanthropic circles -- the Montantes and Kennedys.

Montante Hall, a state-of-the-art math, science and fine arts wing, is named for Montante and his family, which includes three generations of Canisius students.

The field house will bear the name of Bernard J. Kennedy, the National Fuel Gas Co. chief executive and Canisius graduate who died two years ago.

"We're strong believers in a Jesuit education, and we love to give back," Geraldine Kennedy said of her late husband.

As National Fuel's chairman and chief executive officer, Kennedy guided the local company as it built up its pipeline and storage operations, as well as its oil and natural gas drilling business.

The Montantes also are active in charitable causes. Their company, Uniland, is marking its 35th year in business this year.

"We really have a lot to be thankful for," Montante said. "And a lot of it is based on values, the foundation that this school helped develop in us."

Uniland owns and operates more than 1.5 million square feet of property in Buffalo and six million square feet of commercial real estate in Western New York.


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