Thomas A. Kardish, President of Villa Joseph Marie High School, has announced that the school has been awarded a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Wolf authorized the release of $500,000 to fund the installation of educational spaces in the adjacent St. Joseph's Hall, which formerly housed a nursing home. The grant marks the largest single monetary award ever received by Villa in its 85-year history.
St. Joseph's Hall has been gradually developed for classroom use since the St. Joseph Home for the Aged closed in 2002. Roughly two-thirds of the building is already in use, with the most recent expansion completed in December 2017.
Villa's enrollment has increased by 6% over the past five years (since the 2012-2013 school year) and is projected to grow in the 2019-2020 school year. The new classrooms and collaborative maker space will provide not only more physical capacity for faculty and students, but also more opportunities for students to develop 21st-century skills.
Mr. Kardish remarked, "We are in a wonderful position of experiencing an increase in enrollment at Villa, which has allowed us to plan enhancements that support our students' growth. Specifically, we are adding 21st-century learning spaces with an emphasis on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) education. As the only Catholic all-girls high school in Bucks County, our unique mission is to provide an enriching environment in which every girl can find out who God calls her to be. These improvements will go a long way toward helping us fulfill that mission."
Lauren Carr, Principal of Villa Joseph Marie and an alumna of the Class of 2000, added, "The new classrooms being created will have an enormous impact on meeting the needs of our students and teachers. Creating additional learning environments will enable our students to have flexible learning space. Teachers will have updated technology to utilize. It truly is a blessing to be able to have the space to grow and expand our curriculum, as well as our extracurriculars."
Mr. Kardish and Mrs. Carr expressed their gratitude to the state legislators who helped steer the grant request through the complex legislative process—State Senator Tommy Tomlinson (PA-6th Dist), State Senator Charles McIlhinney (PA-10th Dist), State Representative Scott Petri (PA-178th Dist), and State Representative Martina White '06 (PA-170th Dist), a Villa alumna of the Class of 2006.
RACP funding is intended to provide economic stimulus to the Pennsylvania economy and to assist in the immediate creation of quality, family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvanians. The school is currently reviewing bids from local contractors for the completion of the work.