Catholic Central High School, St. Ambrose School to Partner to Form Pre-K to 12 Regional Catholic School in Latham
Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 -- In a move designed to strengthen the future of Catholic education in the Capital Region, the Albany Diocesan School Board (ADSB), under the leadership of Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, today announced it will create a new school in Latham that will allow for a continuum of Catholic education from pre-K to 12th grade in one location. The new Catholic Central School is set to open its doors in September 2022.
St. Ambrose School in Latham (pre-K to 5th grade) and Catholic Central High School in Lansingburgh (6th to 12th grade) will come together at the 19-acre Latham campus that is currently home to St. Ambrose Parish and School.
Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, students from Catholic Central High School (CCHS) will join students from St. Ambrose School to form a new school community on the Latham site. Catholic Central School will be created in phases over the next few years. It will offer students a full academic journey in a safe learning environment at one central location. The new school will afford families the option to enroll their children at any stage of their education accommodating the varying grade level configurations of any surrounding public or private school.
“Catholic education is central to our mission and to our identity as a Diocese,” said Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger. “Catholic Central School is a shining example of what we can do when we think outside the box and create a vision for something new, something necessary, something that offers incredible possibilities for local Catholic students and their families. The fact that this new regional school will be linked physically and spiritually to the parish further solidifies the critical role of faith in this endeavor. I look forward to visiting Catholic Central School when it opens its doors and celebrating this giant step forward with faculty, staff, students and their families.”
Although architectural designs are still being finalized, initial plans call for 2022-2023 to be a transitional year. Students will share St. Ambrose School’s existing 20,500-square-foot building. Wings, multiple entrances and pods of classrooms will enable administrators to keep the three distinct age groups — pre-k and kindergarten, grades 1-5, and grades 6-12 — separated and, when needed, allow for purposeful interaction and mentoring opportunities.
Catholic Central School will be expanded by renovating and building upon St. Ambrose School’s existing structure, which includes 18 classrooms, a laboratory and gymnasium. Architects will provide a timeline for the project in the coming weeks with renovations to begin shortly thereafter.
“The landscape of our Diocese has changed and so should Catholic education. This regional concept is an educational model we have studied, imagined, and hoped to pursue when the time and place was right. This is our moment to put our students at the leading edge of Catholic education,” said Superintendent of Schools Giovanni Virgiglio.
“We are going to be able to deliver a state-of-the-art education with even more extracurricular activities and offerings. The school will also actively expand upon higher educational partnerships,” he continued. “CCHS has existing programs with several surrounding universities. We are only going to be able to enhance those offerings through our proximity to these institutions.”
Located on Old Loudon Road off Exit 6 of I-87, Catholic Central School will offer students numerous advantages, including room for ongoing growth, ample parking, and an expansive campus in the heart of the Capital Region.
“Easily accessible to the Northway, Route 7 and Route 9, there's no place from which you can't get to the sprawling campus,” Virgiglio added, noting that the new school will likely be a draw for families from many surrounding school districts, expanding the bus transportation radius. “It will also be more convenient for families to get to Catholic Central School, which is just minutes away from its current location in Troy.”
Nate Maloney, chairperson of the Catholic Central High School board of trustees, said, “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, CCHS, St. Ambrose School and St. Ambrose parish unified as a team to create the new school. A 'Futures Committee,' which comprises representatives from each entity, will help to oversee the school’s creation.
“As CCHS approaches its 100th anniversary in 2023, we wanted to take action that will guide us into our second century,” Maloney said. “We are excited by the endless options Catholic Central School will provide to our students and how it dovetails with our shared vision for the future of Catholic education.”
“The concept of the parish as the heart of Catholic Central School is important for many families seeking to anchor their child's education in a faith-filled environment,” explained Rev. Brian Kelly, pastor of St. Ambrose Church. “Being located at St. Ambrose Catholic Church will open up new opportunities for students to participate in youth ministry and afternoon activities.”
In the coming weeks, the Futures Committee plans to host a series of informational meetings. “Our hope is that input from key stakeholders will help us to further refine our plans,” said Virgiglio.
For more information, or to reserve a spot for the 2022-2023 school year, please call St. Ambrose School at (518) 785-6453 or Catholic Central High School at (518) 235-7100. A dedicated Catholic Central School website will be launched in the coming weeks featuring frequently asked questions, videos and other important details.