SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

May 7, 2013

St. John’s Prep in Danvers to add middle school

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

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 yesterday 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 middle school’s educational program would be comparable to the high school’s, officials said. Students who are admitted in grade six and progress through grade eight would not have to apply for the high school.

“We see this program as an opportunity to strengthen and further develop the overall Prep experience,” Hardiman said.

The plan is to renovate Brother Benjamin Hall, which was built in 1963 and now serves as a high school classroom building, for use as a middle school. It is one of the first buildings you encounter as you drive up the hill on Summer Street from Route 62.

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