It has secured financing to purchase property in Buckeystown.
St. John's Catholic Prep has secured its future in Buckeystown. School President Gordon Oliver says it has secured financing for the former St. Thomas More Academy campus. He says St. John's expected to begin renovations this fall, and relocate there in January, 2013.
Oliver says St. Thomas More accommodated students from kindergarten through 8th grade, and will need to be fitted out as a high school, grades 9 through 12. He says the new building will include science labs for "biology, physics and chemistry. That will be big. Upgrading the gymnasium. And there's an area actually to the right as you walk in that's not completed. It's a shell. So that will need to be made into classrooms," he says.
Oliver says the new faclities can accommodate up to 400 students. He says number of students coming into St. John's this year is about 270.
Late last year, St. Thomas More Academy agreed to sell its 20-acre property and its classroom building to St. John's, which had already purchased 45-acres next door for a future high school. Oliver says that will increase St. John's total property in that area to about 66-acres.
He says future plans call for an arts center, a stadium, additional athletic fields, a 400-meter track and other amenities. All of that will depend on when funding becomes available, Oliver says.
St. Thomas More has found a new home at the former Middletown Primary School, and it will open there in September.
St. John's Catholic Prep moved to the Prospect Hall location in 1958, after many years in downtown Frederick at East 2nd Street. And there's a lot of history associated with that site on Butterfly Lane. "We've got plaques that been dedicated to former teachers and nuns and the religious here that are in classrooms and on walls. We're going to take all those with us," he says. "We, of course, have religious statues outside in the prayer garden. We'll take those."
Part of moving from Prospect Hall to Buckeystown Pike will mean clearing out the attic, where a ghost named Agnes has been spotted. In jest, Oliver was asked if Agnes may get a little lonely with St. John's relocating to Buckeystown Pike. "Some people think she may come with us. I don't know about that. I think she's committed to Prospect Hall," Oliver responds.
The school year resumes at St. John's Catholic Prep on Tuesday, August 28th. Classes will be held at the Butterfly Lane location until January, 2013, when the school moves to Buckeystown.