By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Editor | Published October 5, 2021
FAYETTEVILLE–“Magnify the Lord” will be the motto of St. Mary’s Academy, the new consolidated school on the southside of Atlanta. The motto will serve as encouragement to school community members to exemplify the Lord in their lives and actions.
The new pre-K-12 school, a consolidation of Our Lady of Victory School in Tyrone and Our Lady of Mercy High School (OLM) Fayetteville, will open in the fall of 2022 on the OLM campus.
Hal Plummer, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, announced in May that the new consolidated school would be named St. Mary’s Academy, drawing upon the Marian titles of the two schools.
“We wanted to continue with her maternal patronage,” said Plummer, who provided an update on the consolidation efforts Sept. 24.
Plummer and the committee working on the consolidation met with the pastors of parishes on the southside in early September to listen, and engage them and their congregations in the process.
Plummer said the modifications to the current school building will create two defined areas for use by the elementary and high school students. Remodeling will include creation of a STEM or STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) lab. The lab will include 3-D printers, a “maker’s space” as well as a learning commons area for instruction and study.
Teachers will be STEM-endorsed with smaller class sizes. A liberal arts and classical studies program will be featured, and a pre-K through fifth grade literacy program will be offered with Orton-Gillingham trained teachers. Interactive boards will be placed in all classrooms from elementary to high school.
Elementary school students are already receiving additional enrichment programs, and these programs, along with day camps, will be offered each summer for all students.
“The school will never be empty in the summer. There will always be things going on,” said Plummer.
Teachers are undertaking added professional development to bolster the academic strength of the school. Archdiocesan schools, including St. Mary’s Academy, will begin serving exceptional learners.
“All should be welcomed,” said Plummer about targeting the needs of learners across the spectrum.
There will be athletic upgrades to the existing campus including new turf on the football and soccer fields, a new track and an enhanced weight-training facility.
“We’re building two playgrounds,” added Plummer.
The superintendent acknowledged there are a “lot of moving parts” to the consolidation.
“Transportation is a concern we’ve anticipated and we’re going to be increasing our scope of transportation to reach a wider number of people that would like to have this education but have been prevented from doing so …,” said Plummer.
Catholic Construction Services of the Archdiocese oversees all parish and school building projects. John Schiavone, director of CCS, said work on the elementary area of the school has already begun.
“They’re going to create a cul-de-sac for a separate dropoff for the elementary school students,” he said.
Work on central or shared areas including the STREAM lab is expected to begin in May to be completed by the 2022 school year, said Schiavone.
McLeRoy Inc. is the project’s general contractor. Houser Walker Architecture designed the remodeled building. Paragon Consulting, Inc. is coordinating permits for driveway and access reconfiguring. Deluxe Athletics is managing the turf projects for the sports fields.
An open house is planned for Sunday, Oct. 24 at Our Lady of Mercy High School, 861 Hwy. 279 in Fayetteville, from noon to 3:00 p.m.
“We are very excited about the future of St. Mary’s Academy and all that it has to offer,” said Plummer earlier this year. “We are deeply grateful to Archbishop Hartmayer for giving this new school his enthusiastic blessing and support.”
St. Mary’s Academy will be the first archdiocesan-sponsored pre-K-12 Catholic school.
For information about St. Mary’s Academy, contact Kiesha Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-461-2202 ext. 410.