GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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May 7, 2013

St. John's Prep adding middle school by 2015

DANVERS — St. John’s Prep plans to open a middle school program by September 2015, school officials said Monday.

The Prep 20/20 strategic plan also includes construction of a new high school building on the Spring Street campus dedicated to math, science and technology, plus construction of a new wellness center for athletics, fitness and health education.

The new middle school would add 300 students in grades six, seven and eight and occupy Brother Benjamin Hall, said St. John’s Prep Headmaster Edward Hardiman, who unveiled plans with trustees Chairman Bernard Caniff and Principal Keith Crowley in a press conference Monday morning.

“I’m confident the plans outlined today will strengthen and enrich the Prep experience for future generations,” said Caniff, a 1972 graduate and father of two Prep alumni.

School officials did not put a price tag on the cost for the new buildings or the middle school expansion. Hardiman said the plans unveiled yesterday were an overhead view of the future of the 106-year-old prep school. St. John’s Prep is a Catholic day school for boys with about 1,150 students in grades nine through 12.

The new middle school would add 300 students, 100 students per grade. The school presently has 110 faculty members, and the goal with the middle school is to keep the student-teacher ratio at 18 to 1, Hardiman said.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the announcement that the 128-year-old St. Ann School in Gloucester will be closing at the end of the school year due to declining enrollment and the failure of an expected Archdiocese of Boston-based $4 million capital campaign to raise any more than $265,000.

Officials at St. Mary’s School in Beverly had already reached out to some St. Ann parents and students in the wake of the school’s closing. St. Ann has long been the only Catholic school on Cape Ann.

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