Toledo's two all-girl Catholic high schools both announced major expansions yesterday - the addition of two grades at Notre Dame Academy and a three-story building addition at St. Ursula Academy paid for with a $1.2 million donation.
Notre Dame President Sister Mary Ann Culpert said the high school, 3535 West Sylvania Ave., would begin taking in seventh and eighth grade girls at the start of the 2007-08 school year.
"The Catholic bishops in America have always been big proponents of parental choice," Sister Mary Ann said. "It is not our intention to do away with the K-8 setting."
The school will take up to 30 girls for each of the new grades.
Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair asked the school to postpone the new program until the fall of 2007.
The all-male St. John's Jesuit High School opened an academy for seventh and eighth-grade boys in 2004. At the time, Catholic school educators thought that would be a blow to the traditional kindergarten through eighth-grade schools, which had experienced enrollment declines over several years.
St. Ursula President Jane Charette yesterday announced a major expansion for the all-girls' high school, 4025 Indian Rd. The 17,000-square-foot, three-story expansion entails adding two floors of school space and another science laboratory.
The construction will be funded by the Iott Foundation in memory of the late Wallace D. Iott, founder and chairman of the former Seaway Food Town, Inc. grocery chain.
St. Ursula will begin construction of The Iott Center, estimated at $1.2 million, in November, 2006. Completion is scheduled for August, 2007.
Rich Iott, president of the Iott Foundation and the son of the late Wally and Jeannette Iott, said the gift is in memory of his father, who passed away in March and who strongly believed in philanthropy.
He said it is also to honor two deceased aunts who both served for over 60 years in the Ursuline order, Sister Mary Kenneth and Sister Clare Marie.
"This expansion will ensure that future generations will benefit from the same quality, well-rounded education that these women received," he said.
Each school has just over 600 students.
- Ignazio Messina