Construction underway for new $10M Catholic school

Guardian Catholic School combines Saint Pius V, Holy Rosary Catholic schools

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Guardian Catholic School on the Northside
Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Guardian Catholic School on the Northside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Construction is underway Wednesday for the new Guardian Catholic School on the Northside. The $10 million campus will combine Saint Pius V and Holy Rosary Catholic Schools into one location. It will serve 500 students from 3 years old to eight grade.

"These schools, which combined have a history of 150 years in this Northside community, are going to preserve and carry forth their legacy into the future,” executive director of education Sister Dianne Rumschlag said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to give educational opportunities to the children we serve because we believe that makes the best life-changing impact that we can give.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new 49,000-square-foot school that will include a learning center, computer and STEM labs, The Guardian Angel courtyard, shared flex-space for groups, a fine arts center, a media center, a cafetorium, playgrounds and a new 11,000-square-foot gym with basketball and volleyball courts.

As with the current schools, the new Guardian Catholic School will serve primarily African-American, non-Catholic students. They also offer scholarships.

Students of the Guardian Catholic School historically go on to have a high school graduation rate of 95 percent.

"The program not only has an impact on the students but the entire family," Bishop Felipe J. Estevez, of the Diocese of Saint Augustine, said. "It's the entire neighborhood that is transformed by this quality education." 

Estevez officiated the groundbreaking at the Holy Rosary Catholic School in Brentwood.

Community members and educators said it's a much-needed change from the century-old schools the students are currently housed.

"They're very old schools -- one school where the roof is leaking periodically 0- we've got to resolve that,", Co-chair of the Capital Committee Ronald Townsend said.

The Guardian Catholic School is expected to be completed just in time for the 2017-2018 school year.