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New Catholic school will open in August in Henderson

Construction is underway on a private Catholic school in Henderson — the first new elementary/middle school campus in 19 years for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas.

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic School — which will initially accommodate about 260 students in preschool through eighth grades — is slated to open for its first school year Aug. 17. It’s being built on St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church’s 22-acre campus on Sunridge Heights Parkway in the MacDonald Ranch area.

Church and school officials say the new school will help meet a demand for Catholic education. St. Francis of Assisi has about 8,500 registered families but doesn’t currently have an on-site or nearby Catholic school.

“This was an area of Henderson that was terribly underserved,” said Cathy Thompson, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Las Vegas.

Currently, the Diocese’s closest Catholic elementary/middle school — St. Viator Catholic School on South Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas — is 13 miles from the Henderson church.

Groundbreaking for St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic School was held in June, and construction is on track to wrap up in May. Church officials declined to disclose how much it will cost to build the school.

Church parishioners made long-term financial commitments in order to fund the school, Miller said, and the building will also be used for church events. They were also involved in choosing a mascot (Saints) and school colors (navy green and gold).

What the school will offer

The new school began accepting applications from prospective students in October. So far, 228 students — spread fairly evenly among grade levels — are registered, school principal Danielle Miller said.

Interested families should apply by May, but the school won’t turn students away if spots are available after that, Miller said. And being Catholic isn’t a requirement for admission, but non-St. Francis of Assisi families pay higher tuition.

School officials want parents and students to understand the school’s expectations and rigorous curriculum, Miller said. And with Catholic education, “family involvement is a big piece.”

In preparation for the school’s opening in August, school leaders plan to hire 25 employees, including teachers, classroom aides and support staff.

The school will initially have one class per grade level, Miller said, but its building is large enough to eventually accommodate two.

The campus will include a 1.8-acre athletic field, an outdoor play area, a separate preschool and kindergarten recess area, a full-size gymnasium with a stage, and secure central courtyards.

The school will also have a STREAM — science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math — incubator lab. It will include features such as a broadcasting green room, a sound booth and spaces for 3D printing and woodworking.

“It’s really more like a makerspace than about technology,” Miller said.

‘Need for Catholic education’

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas has six elementary/middle schools — St. Anthony of Padua will be the seventh — and two high schools. About 3,900 students are enrolled.

Five of the elementary schools are in Las Vegas and one is in North Las Vegas. The two high schools are Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas and Cristo Rey St. Viator College Preparatory High School, which opened this school year in North Las Vegas.

“The need for Catholic education is growing, not dwindling,” said Miller, who grew up in Las Vegas.

Responses to school surveys indicate families choose a Catholic education for their children for reasons such as rigorous academics, faith and family values, safe campuses, national accreditation, small class sizes and a community atmosphere, Thompson said.

More than 90 percent of students at the Diocese of Las Vegas’ elementary/middle schools are Catholic, Thompson said, and she expects a similar percentage at St. Anthony of Padua.

The last opening of a new diocese elementary/middle school — St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School in Summerlin — was 19 years ago.

In Henderson, Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church is feeling the effects of Henderson’s population growth. It’s a large congregation, and more than 1,000 children are participating in youth faith formation classes.

During a Jan. 30 tour of the church campus and school site, Miller pointed out neighboring residential areas.

“If you look around here,” she said, “the area has grown immensely.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

More information

St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic School is at 2300 Sunridge Heights Parkway in Henderson. For more information, call 702-914-2175 or visit sfahdnv.org/school.

For more information about Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas schools, visit lasvegascatholicschools.org.

Tuition rates for St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic School:

  • St. Francis of Assisi active parishioner rate for kindergarten through eighth grades: First child, $7,832 annually; second child, $7,383 annually; and third child, $6,943 annually.
  • Standard tuition rate (nonregistered families) for kindergarten through eighth grades: $9,332 annually
  • Preschool: $9,893 annually

Monthly and quarterly tuition rates are also available. Additional school fees include a $50 application/assessment fee per child, $500 registration fee per child, $15 student insurance fee per child and $500 new family development fee.

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