Michael D. Clark reports:
For the first time in 47 years, a new Catholic high school is opening in Greater Cincinnati’s northern suburbs, The Enquirer has learned.
Royalmont Academy in Mason made headlines last year after buying the former Mason Heights Elementary school and its 16-acre campus.
On Tuesday, school officials will announce Royalmont’s addition of grades 9-12 in the 2014-15 school year.
Royalmont will be the first new Catholic high school in Warren or Butler counties since Hamilton Badin High School in Hamilton opened in 1966.
The new high school reflects the growing populations in Warren and Butler counties, school officials said.
“It is a response to changing demographics that have seen a steady growth pattern in the area,” said Tony Ferraro, executive director of the school that first started in Mason in 1996.
“We believe our location at our new 16-acre campus in Mason is ideally located to serve this population (growth) as well as neighboring Hamilton and Montgomery counties,” said Ferraro.
“Catholic schools were built to respond to where people were, and now Warren and Butler counties have been growth centers in Southwest Ohio.”
Butler County is one of Ohio’s largest; Warren County is among the fastest-growing of the state’s 88 counties.
From 2010 to 2012, only 17 municipalities in the four Southwest Ohio counties grew at 2 percent or more, according to U.S. Census data. In Warren County alone, 14 saw similar jumps.
Royalmont now offers kindergarten through eighth grade to more than 200 students but Ferraro anticipates enrollment will jump with the addition of high school grades and a new option for area parents interested in non-public school education for their children.
“And we will be the first K-12 Catholic school in Butler and Warren counties recognized by the Cincinnati Archdiocese,” he said, though he added that Royalmont is not directly under the supervision of the archdiocese school system.
Jim Rigg, superintendent of the Cincinnati Archdiocese schools, said “we are determined that a high school program at Royalmont would not be detrimental to the existing Catholic high schools, and would likely grow the overall footprint of Catholic education in our region.”
Carl Brown, a Royalmont school parent and resident of Warren County’s Maineville, said “having a high school at Royalmont means so much for our family – not just in terms of convenience, location, affordability and all my kids at one school.”
About Royalmont Academy
• Founded in Mason in 1996, Royalmont Academy officials describe its mission as “classical education and blended learning while embracing technology.”
• The school currently enrolls more than 200 students in grades K-8 at its campus at 200 Northcrest Drive in Mason.
• In 2012 the school moved from its Western Row Road location in Mason to conduct classes in the 22,000-square-foot school that once housed Mason Heights Elementary. Mason schools last year sold the elementary, which has two gyms, an auditorium and a separate early childhood center, as part of its consolidation into fewer buildings.
• Tuition currently is $6,700 per school year, and financial aid is available for qualifying families.
• Website: http://cristero.wordpress.com/