NRV's only Catholic School expanding with new school building

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The New River Valley's only Catholic school is growing and will soon serve more than double the students it has now.

Saint John Neumann Academy opened in Blacksburg in 2003. Since that time, it has always borrowed space to teach their students, with no location of their own.

School Director Julia Wharton explained, "When we first started we actually rented space in the old Blacksburg Middle School. We ended up in a space on Research Center Drive, but we knew from the beginning, when we opened, that we needed a place to call home."

Students, current and old, say they are managing with their current space, but their excited for the new school.

Marissa Wharton, who graduated from St. John Neumann said, "Other leases and other occupants just kind of came in the way. I think it was just the feeling of not having your own true space is what the issue was."

Seventh grader Catherine Shewchuk added, "We get stuff done, it work in the building now but it's good we're getting a new one."

With the ceremonial tossing of the dirt Thursday, students and families celebrated knowing their dream for a new school are coming true.

The school, that is now at capacity at 100 students, will be able to serve 250 students when the new school building opens next August. :08

Seventh grader Tre' Clark said, "It's going to be great because we're going to have more people and we can have more friends and more people to attend."

The school raised $4 million on its own, thanks to fundraisers and private supporters.

"We approached investors who are passionate about education, passionate about our community, and they really stepped up for us," Warton explained.

The school will be located on Yellow Sulphur Road behind the Days Inn in Blacksburg.

During Thursday's ceremony the eighth grade class, who will not be able to learn in the new building, announced they'd be building a time capsule that will be burried in the new school.