DePaul College Prep will move to a new 17-acre campus about a quarter-mile southeast of its current home for the 2020-2021 school year.
DePaul Prep announced the purchase of the new campus Aug. 1.
The high school, which was created five years ago as a combined initiative of DePaul University and the former Gordon Tech High School, needs the space to accommodate its growing enrollment and to provide the “21st century learning environment our students deserve,” said Mary Dempsey, the school’s president.
DePaul Prep expects about 500 students for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year at the existing Father Gordon Campus, 3633 N. California Ave. Dempsey said it projects about 600 students when the new campus opens.
“We started five years ago, and we’ve been growing every year,” Dempsey said.
In 2017, the graduating class — the first to spend all four years as DePaul Prep students — was 82 students, she said. This year, the graduating class was 100. The freshman class entering this fall is expected to be 180 students.
The new campus, once complete, will accommodate an enrollment of 1,000 students.
A new, modern campus should spur that growth, Dempsey said.
“When we started this, we did lots of research,” she said. “Parents told us there is a need for another Catholic high school option on the North Side, if it is academically challenging and offers modern facilities.”
DePaul Prep’s partnership with DePaul University has helped improve its academic offerings. High school students take college prep, honors, AP and International Baccalaureate classes at DePaul Prep and dual enrollment classes at DePaul University; DePaul Prep faculty receive professional development and curricular support from the university’s various colleges; student athletes and arts programs use facilities on university campus; and DePaul Prep students and faculty have access to the university’s research libraries.
This move, Dempsey said, addresses the need for more modern facilities.
The new campus has been home to a DeVry University campus, and it includes two modern, accessible, air-conditioned buildings that are wired for modern technology. There are two existing science labs; DePaul Prep will add four more, along with a chapel and dining facility, Dempsey said.
A new turf field for football, lacrosse and soccer will be completed before the school moves in, she said. DePaul Prep will then use proceeds from a capital campaign called “All in for DePaul Prep” to build a new athletic facility that will include a pool, several gymnasiums and an indoor track.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ellen Meents-DeCaigny, president of DePaul Prep’s parent association. Meents-DeCaigney’s son, a junior who plays football, is especially looking forward to the new field his senior year.
“We’ve known something was in the works, but now being able to see the plan and the timeline makes it real,” Meents-DeCaigney said. “And it’s wonderful that we will have new facilities and be in the same community.”
In the announcement, Dempsey expressed gratitude to the Congregation of the Resurrection, which owns the Father Gordon Campus and sponsored Gordon Tech High School and DePaul Prep.
Whether their sponsorship will extend to the new campus has not been settled, said Resurrectionist Father Gene Szarek, the provincial. The congregation intends to keep its provincial offices, residence and chapel at the south end of the property.
“The rest will probably be sold,” Szarek said, adding that the Resurrectionists would want a buyer whose plans fit with the community.
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