Upgrade Gives New Life to 100-Year-Old Former Holy Cross School in South Ward
TRENTON – A century-old South Ward school building began a new chapter today as Foundation Collegiate Academy (FCA) celebrated its $14M renovation and expansion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. FCA’s renovation marks Trenton’s second major public high school facility upgrade in 2019, providing increased high-quality public educational space for local students.
Since its inception in 2011, FCA has called 22 Grand Street its home. The building’s cornerstone dates from 1919, and most lifelong Trenton residents might remember it as the former Holy Cross K-8 Catholic school, which operated for 86 years, finally closing in 2005. Constructed in an era before ADA compliance, fire safety, and entryway security were priorities, the sturdy brick building’s old windows, and inefficient heating, cooling, and electrical systems were in need of a total upgrade.
“To think that more than four generations of Trenton’s students have learned inside these walls is simply incredible… if only these walls could talk,” said Graig Weiss, Foundation Academies CEO. “For the past eight years, this century-old building has given us a wonderful home. However, upgrades were necessary to bring the building up to the high standard of excellence that our students and community deserve.”
To increase educational space, FCA acquired the vacant Holy Cross rectory site located just north of the school building and spent the better part of the 2018-19 school year constructing a new 10,217 square foot addition. The existing school building received a complete HVAC, electrical, and interior upgrade, along with a slight reconfiguration to maximize the use of space.
The $14 million revitalization and expansion project added 10 new classrooms, including a state-of-the-art science lab, a new main lobby and office with a secure entryway, an elevator, and a large, multipurpose Information Commons. This modern, light-filled space will serve as a library, media center, study space, and group workspace. Thanks to the facility upgrade, FCA was able to welcome an additional 30 new students for the 2019-20 school year.
“We are so excited for our students to be able to learn inside this beautiful, modern facility,” said Melissa Campbell, FCA Principal. “Hearing students say things like ‘This reminds me of a college,’ means the world to us. We strive to prepare our students for college and post-secondary life, and if we are able to give them a taste of that experience right here at home, they will have the tools to continue to be successful after graduation.”
Because the upgraded building truly belongs to the students of FCA, three current students, Ari Jenkins (11th Grade), Marwa Reshid (12th Grade), and Salvador Xe (12th Grade) received the honor of cutting the ribbon.
“I love this school and everything they have done for me,” said Ari Jenkins, an 11th Grader at FCA. “Foundation has turned me into a great student, a great leader, and also a great person. I will use all of the social, emotional, and academic skills I’ve learned here throughout my entire life.”
Now equipped with a modern facility capable of supporting the needs of today’s students, Foundation Collegiate Academy is poised to help shape the next generation of Trenton’s well-rounded, community-minded leaders; destined for success.
About Foundation Academies
Foundation Academies is a top-performing K-12 public charter school in Trenton, NJ. Founded in 2007, Foundation Academies is currently serving more than 1,000 students across two campuses. With markedly less funding than Trenton district schools ($7,317 less per pupil), Foundation Academies’ dedicated teachers and scholars are proving that all children, irrespective of race, gender, or socioeconomic background can succeed at a great public school. On state exams, all grades at Foundation Academies are outperforming not just their Trenton peers, but NJ statewide averages as well. And 100% of Foundation Collegiate Academy graduates are accepted to college. For more, visit: foundationacademies.org
Michelle Lawlor, Marketing and Communications Associate, spearheads Foundation Academies’ marketing and communication efforts. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Multimedia Communications from Rider University.