“While schools across the country largely struggled during the pandemic, with reduced test scores and even lower enrollments, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York continued to thrive. From offering in-person instruction when others couldn’t, to the unrelenting pursuit of excellence, nowhere has that been truer than Iona Preparatory,” said Director Brother Thomas Leto.
The New Rochelle-based Edmund Rice Christian Brothers school, which turns 107 in October, is set to open a 21,000-square-foot expansion to its Paul Verni Fine Arts Center in September, in addition to the transformation of a traditional school library into a tech-savvy and collaborative academic learning center, and a former faculty workspace into a new stock trading room.
The fine arts center expansion is the largest and most visibly prominent of the endeavors, with the goal of providing more educational opportunities to students in art, drama, and music. In addition to a 409-seat auditorium that will be home to musical and theatrical productions with professional-grade lighting and sound, the expansion includes a student art gallery and additional classroom space. The existing broadcast, production, and recording studios in the original building have been combined and enlarged, and a new digital arts room with up to 16 terminals has been added.
The Verni Center expansion is the culmination of Iona’s successful $10 million Centennial Campaign for Excellence, which included the transformation of the Lower School library into the Devlin Library & Center for Excellence. Named after the former grammar school headmaster, Brother J. Kevin Devlin, the space is a blend of a traditional library and more contemporary makerspaces. The campaign also helped enhance the school’s endowment, which provides the underpinnings of future growth.
That growth now encompasses the Upper School Jakeway Library, which is seeing the removal of traditional volumes and sliding stacks and the creation of a more collegiate and collaborative learning center for both classes and small group study. And rounding out the litany of summer enhancements, Iona is trading a faculty lounge in the D’Urso Conference Center for a mock trading room, complete with a stock ticker and terminal on which students can enhance their study of economic forces as part of the school’s new financial literacy course.
Westchester’s only pre-K-12 Catholic educational institution continues to grow its combined 37-acre, collegiate-style campus, responding to the changing needs of its second century of students. Among them is the creation of contemporary and comfortable learning spaces, and so a second summer of adding modular heating and cooling units, along with new ductwork, will mean both Iona’s Lower and Upper schools will be fully air-conditioned when classes resume in September – not to mention with a smaller carbon footprint after retiring some older boilers.
The seventh and final “Essential Element of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education” is to “pursue excellence in all endeavors”. It is a mantra inexorably intertwined with Iona’s mission, as the school continues to “develop young men into ethical and moral leaders” both through its curricula and educational facilities.
255 Wilmot Road,
Director: Brother Thomas Leto, CFC