Victory Gate Upkeep
The Victory Gates, originally named Alumni Memorial Gateway, were built by contributions and efforts of the SJMA Alumni in 1946, at the southeast corner of the school grounds near the intersection of 15th Street and Hall Street. The monument was constructed of natural stone ornamented with bronze crests and bronze plaques bearing the names of all the former cadets who were in the armed service during the Second World War. In addition, plaques on the tallest monuments honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during the war. Each side of this memorial consists of a large mock battlement, small mock battlement and a semi-circular white limestone wall, with a road that separates the two sides.
Work was done by Bird and Cook Contractors with dedication of the structure by the Most Rev. Frank A. Thill, Bishop of Salina, on November 11, 1946. Upon completion of the project, a new tradition was established at the school for all who take part in any athletic event. All teams depart through the new gateway when they leave school, however no one will return through the entrance unless a victory has been won, hence the reason the arch will be called the “Victory Arch”. They were later renamed the “Victory Gates”.
In 2006, the Victory Gates underwent significant renovation to return them to their original beauty. Mid-Continent Restoration was in charge of replacing broken stone and resealing the stone for future generations, at a cost of $51,774.00. Hertel Tank Service donated their equipment and services to vacuum out the 60+ years of waste that had accumulated in the battlements, which even included bowling pins! Concrete caps were added to alleviate this problem in the future. A new bronze plaque with 24 additional names was also added, that was inadvertently left off the first set of plaques. Final touches of landscaping, irrigation and concrete sidewalks were completed in September of 2008, with funds from the Jerome and Oliva Befort Memorial.
Currently, Deloyd Sander and Mike ’66 Gnad are replacing many damaged stones on the Victory Gates. They are donating their time, energy and labor. Paul – Wertenberger Construction has donated the replacement stones and the Alumni Association is paying for the other expenses including concrete, etc. The final result looks wonderful!!