September 13, 2019
Dear Bonner & Prendie Community,
As the attached press release notes, today the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, in conjunction with Bonner & Prendie, announced an agreement to sell the former Archbishop Prendergast building to Delaware County Community College (DCCC). As a former higher education professional and now a current high school president, I see this as a dream come true; the opportunities seem almost endless with this news for our community and, specifically, for our students.
Since we combined the boys and girls, in 2012, into the newer (former “Bonner only”) building, the “Prendie” building has been underutilized. The property was listed, via the Archdiocese, which owns the site, with a national real estate firm, and a number of prospective buyers became involved. We believe we have reached agreement with the best buyer, as we were able to save the exterior of the historic Prendie building and, together with us next door, continue an academic use across the entire site.
When our Board of Directors began discussions with the Archdiocese about this important project, it set out certain parameters, among them the preservation of the beautiful Prendie building facade and a compatible use neighbor. As to the future layout, Bonner & Prendie will retain our turf field in front of the Prendie building, as well as everything east (looking “right” from Garrett Road) of the driveway that divides the campus in half between the two main buildings.
We currently participate in DCCC’s High School Dual Enrollment program. In that program, Bonner & Prendie students have the opportunity to earn college credits starting freshman year for a fraction of the standard tuition rate. Students who are in the program, however, currently have to go to one of various other DCCC campuses to take their courses. When DCCC moves next-door, our students will virtually be steps away from these college credit courses.
Along with High School Dual Enrollment Program, having a community college on site will provide an ability to share resources in creating synergy with our own academic departments, increase property management resources, eliminate costs associated with managing the empty buildings we currently incur, and bring life back to the building. We expect some normal construction-related challenges around campus once the agreement gets to a closing (likely sometime next year), but we are confident that this new arrangement will benefit our school community for many years to come.
There are many people to thank for their tireless efforts and dedication in seeing this through to today’s announcement, including our entire Board of Directors, including Co-chairs, Mike Curry ‘75 and Pat Welde ‘81, Prendie Building Committee headed by Mike Curry; our Board Facilities Committee, led by George Wilson ‘75; our school Facilities team, headed by Tom Light ‘76; the leadership at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Faith in the Future Foundation, especially Dr. Dave Magee; and Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie and Township Manager Tom Judge, all of whom stayed-the-course during this long and complicated process. I also want to thank the leadership at DCCC, specifically its President, Dr. L. Joy Gates Black and her team, for having made a commitment to our community in providing this unique and dynamic opportunity for our students for years to come.
As this process moves forward, I will continue to provide updates on the schedule and the formal closing of the Archbishop Prendergast building.
Sincerely and God Bless,
Dr. John E. Cooke
Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School