Good News: St. Vincent’s converting convent into classrooms

Good News: St. Vincent’s converting convent into classrooms

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Mary Anne Hogan is excited about the new space she has now.

“Look at this view.”

But she really can’t wait to see it all occupied by students and teachers as soon as next fall.

“When the sisters moved out three years ago, we knew this space had to be for our students.”

St. Vincent’s Academy is renovating the third floor of its 175-year old downtown building, converting what was the Convent of St. Vincent de Paul, the one-time home for up to 30 nuns, into a new chapter for the all-girls Catholic school.

“We are very landlocked, so we were absolutely blessed to get this space. This is going to give us six new classrooms, offices, assembly space and a conference room.”

And it is going to give today’s students a deeper connection to their school’s history and the sisters who founded it.

“The room we’re in right now, I call this the parade room because we are absolutely on the corner of Abercorn and Liberty. The sisters for years would set up chairs by these windows and watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

“This will be one of the main access areas where the girls come up. How spectacular to get to go by that every day.”

The $3 million renovation is still in its early stages.

"We opened construction in July, during the middle of a pandemic. Who does that? But we had to move forward.

And with 70 percent of the cost secured through donations, the school has launched a fundraiser to help with the rest.

“This is too good of a project not to get to the finish line. So we are doing a renovation raffle for a long time, we were relying on in-person events. We can’t do that, but this renovation raffle makes sense.”

In the Designer Room Makeover Sweepstakes, St. Vincent’s will raffle off a $10,000 room renovation for one winner’s home - as well as other prizes.

“You choose the designer and the designer will provide design services. Whelan Furniture is onboard. We need to get across the finish line. This is so important to us and our students and we need the help of the public to help us get done and get this beautiful project completed.”

The project is scheduled to be done by the start of next school year at which time the school’s history will meet its future.

“All of these little touches, we’re working with specialized people who do historic restoration all the time. And we’re saving things and preserving things like doors. We’re actually using one door from the 1800′s as a conference table. Things like that to honor the building, honor the sisters, that really makes it special. The girls are very excited. The teachers are very excited. But the people who are most excited are the Sisters of Mercy.”

St. Vincent’s will add more than 11,000 square feet to its school with this project. Raffle tickets for the renovation fundraiser are available at svaga.net.

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