St. John’s Preparatory School has announced plans to build a 78,000-square foot wellness center as the centerpiece of a $24.9 million project on its Danvers campus.
According to an announcement, the center will include athletic facilities for both varsity and intramural teams and other student use at the school, which has an enrollment of 1,450 boys in grades 6 through 12.
Approximately $19 million has been raised from private donations, and the fund-raising effort will continue during construction of a building which Headmaster Edward Hardiman said will support the school’s mission to educate the whole person, including body and mind.
“This is all about the community coming together to throw its support behind the project,” Hardiman said.
In addition to an eight-lane pool, four-court field house, indoor track, fitness space, and locker rooms, the center will house gallery space for art work, a meditation room, and multipurpose rooms for programs such as yoga or Brazilian jiu jitsu.
“From our perspective, the center will really benefit everybody at St. John’s,” Hardiman said.
Construction will begin in March and the center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. It will be built next to Cronin Memorial Stadium — a multiuse field used for football and lacrosse — on land that is currently a parking lot.
The project also includes improvements to the stadium and the installation of a solar array. Stadium improvements include installing synthetic turf and enlarging the field to fit soccer specifications; enlarging the track to regulation size for competition; adding lights; and installing new bleachers on the home side.
The 600-killowatt solar array will be installed on land behind the stadium, and is expected to generate enough energy to fully power the wellness center during daylight hours.
When the project is completed, the school will have reached three of four major initiatives from the strategic plan announced in May 2013. The first two were to open a middle school to serve students in grades 6 through 8, and to build the Brother Keefe, C.F.X. Academic Center. Both were completed in 2015. The final objective in the strategic plan is to continue to grow the school’s endowment to support the tuition assistance program.
“When students have a place where they routinely see a variety of health and fitness activities happening, they are more likely to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new,” said Keith Crowley, principal and associate head of school. “In the process, they get to know students with different interests. They’re stretching and growing in ways that benefit themselves and strengthen the school community. That’s why this new wellness center represents such a powerful addition to our program.”David Rattigan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.