Seventh and eighth-grade students at Scuola Vita Nuova (SVN) will be learning in state-of-the-art new digs this school year.
The Historic Northeast charter school held a ribbon-cutting for the $1.6 million renovations to the Mary Glynn-Donnelly Center – SVN’s new middle school learning facility – on the evening of Monday, August 13. The new space was dedicated to Glynn-Donnelly by her three daughters, who valued the namesake’s commitment to education, hard work and community service. Glynn-Donnelly grew up in the Historic Northeast.
The ancillary building to the north of the main school initially served as a rectory for St. John’s Catholic Church when it was built in the early 1970s. SVN moved into the main building in 2014, following extensive renovations. Principal Nicole Goodman said at the ribbon-cutting event that the converted rectory was a sign that SVN is committed to its student body.
“Our students and our families in the urban core deserve the best, and when you walk through, I think that we have proven we can do that,” Goodman said.
With the school continuing to grow, SVN leaders knew that they needed more space moving forward. For the 2018-2019 school year, SVN will serve 287 students between kindergarten and eighth grade; without the Mary Glynn-Donnelly Center, the main building would have been a tight fit.
That’s why SVN decided to invest $1.6 million into the renovation of the 5,000 square-foot building. On August 13, SVN families and staff joined administrators and board members to tour the new facility. Third District Councilman Quinton Lucas also joined the festivities, speaking at the event about his support for the charter school, which was spurred on by a member of SVN’s board.
“I got to know this school from a very strong and tenacious woman, Judge Peggy Stevens McGraw, who is a member of the board,” Lucas said. “I’m a lawyer by training, and when a judge tells you to be somewhere, you just go and you ask questions later.”
Over the years, Lucas has seen the hope that a quality learning environment like the one that’s been cultivated at SVN can instill in students.
“Sometimes it’s great just to be in a school environment where they say, ‘We care about you today,’ and you get to explore and experience and learn,” Lucas said. “So what this space means to me is creating more opportunities like that here in the Northeast, which allows us to create more opportunities like this in Kansas City.”