The Two Class of 1991 Entrepreneurs Make a Generous Gift
Christopher Columbus High School is pleased to announce that the school’s new Center for Science and the Arts will be named after alumni Marcus Lemonis and Mario Sueiras. Lemonis and Sueiras, childhood friends from the class of 1991, have made a generous gift to the school.
Lemonis, a serial entrepreneur, television personality and philanthropist, is one of the most sought-after industry experts in the small business sector today. He is the Chairman and CEO of the nation’s leading RV retailer, Camping World, and is host of CNBC’s “The Profit” where he lends his expertise to struggling businesses across the nation. Inducted into the Columbus Hall of Fame in 2015, his popular “Lemonis Challenge” inspired thousands of alumni to give to the Columbus development program in recent years.
Sueiras is a long-time insurance industry professional who has headed the local Geico Miami office for the last 12 years. Under his direction, his office has experienced steady sales growth. He also has supported several local community organizations. Prior to joining the insurance industry, Sueiras worked as a teacher in Miami-Dade Public Schools. He is a Columbus parent and proud father of two children.
“We are so grateful to Marcus and Mario for this extraordinary support. They exemplify the strong brotherhood spirit of Columbus and the deep ties that bind us,” said Thomas Kruczek, Christopher Columbus High School President. “Their generosity will build a legacy for the future. We are honored that this building will bear their names and serve as inspiration for future generations of Explorers.”
Both Lemonis and Sueiras credit their time at Columbus with giving them a solid foundation for succeeding in life and for helping them be the men they are today. “Columbus gave me the confidence to be myself, and to take chances,” said Marcus Lemonis. “There’s a special magic that is found in this school and I want to help generations of young men to experience it.”
Columbus has long been focused on initiatives that promote an interdisciplinary approach to STEM education across all curriculum. “The new center will provide students with the ideal space and resources to foster STEM skills, such as critical thinking, communication and creativity, which are essential for their future success,” said Mercy Aycart, Science Department Chairperson.
“The facility will take our STEM Programs to a new level,” she added.
The multi-functional 100,000 square foot, 4-story building will house innovative and inspiring learning spaces for the STEM disciplines, art, music, and the school’s Emmy award winning CCNN Live broadcast journalism program. Common areas will include a tiered lecture hall as well as exhibition and performance spaces. Indoor parking, locker rooms, and an outdoor dining area will also be part of the facility. At the heart of the third and fourth floors, a large atrium will bring in abundant natural light, provide visual connections between floors, and provide space that is conducive to collaborative work.
The Marcus Lemonis and Mario Sueiras Center for Science and the Arts will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building on the Columbus campus. “The building will provide great learning experiences for our students on the importance of conserving energy and being environmentally responsible,” said Tim Plummer ‘83, Columbus Buildings & Ground Committee Chair.
The project is estimated to cost $25 million and has an estimated completion date in early 2022. It is being designed by AECOM, one of the world’s premier infrastructure firms. The builder is Vilar-Hoynack, a construction company with over 30 years of experience that has managed over $2 billion in projects, many in the K-12 and higher education sector. The firm’s co-founder is Columbus 1980 alumnus, Frank Vilar.
“The new Marcus Lemonis and Mario Sueiras Center for Science & the Arts will put Columbus at the cutting edge of STEM education and elevate our visual and performing arts programs,” said President Kruczek. “It will help propel our young men forward and prepare them to attend the best colleges of their choice.”