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Headmaster Edward P. Hardiman, Ph.D, of St. John’s Prep in Danvers announced that the private Catholic school for boys will break ground in March on a 78,000-square-foot Wellness Center. Funded entirely on philanthropic support, the $25 million facility will open in fall 2017—75 percent of the fund have been raised to date.

The Wellness Center is the third of four major initiatives called for in the school’s strategic plan, Prep 20/20 announced in 2013. St. John’s completed the first two initiatives in September 2015 when it opened a middle school for boys in middle school grades 6, 7, and 8 and built the Brother Keepfe, C.F.X. Academic Center. The fourth objective calls for continued growth of the school’s endowment to support the tuition assistance program.

“The opening of our new Wellness Center will mark a historic moment in the life of the Prep. This facility will become the hub for student life on our campus, and greatly enhance our ability to bring our Catholic, Xaverian mission of educating the whole person to life,” says Hardiman.

Designed by Flansburgh Architects of Boston and constructed by Windover Construction of Beverly, the two-story Wellness Center will include an eight-lane indoor pool, a four-court field house, with an indoor track an elevated track, fitness space, locker rooms for teams, faculty and staff, gallery space for student artwork, a mediation room, and staff offices. As part of the construction project, will also involve the installation of a 600-kilowatt solar array behind the school’s Cronin memorial Stadium. The array will generate enough electricity to power the wellness center during daylight hours.

“When students have a place where they routinely see a variety of health and fitness activities happening, they are more likely to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new. In the process, they get to know students with different interests. They’re stretching and growing in ways that benefit themselves and strengthen the school community. That’s why this new wellness center represents such a powerful addition to our program,” says Keith A. Crowley, Ph.D., Principal and Associate Head of School.

The school was founded in 1907 as a Xaverian Brothers sponsored school on 175 acres in Danvers. Today approximately 1,450 boys attend the school from 80 cities and towns in Massachusetts.