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Bishop O’Connell High School begins construction project with convent demolition

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Bricks flew as a large yellow excavator bit through the third floor of Bishop O’Connell High School’s former convent the morning of Aug. 1. 

For 60 years, the convent was the home of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who teach at the school. The sisters moved into their new convent not far from campus last December. There were some minor delays to the demolition as crews worked to minimize the impact on the part of the school still connected to the convent. 

"We are excited to be here at the close of this chapter and the beginning of a new one." Sister Regina Havens

After months of anticipation, the demolition finally began, as a crowd of O’Connell staff and administrators watched with a group of IHM sisters. Sister Regina Havens smiled as she watched the large excavator make short work of the wall facing North Trinidad Street. She said it was appropriate that demolition started on the feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, one of the order’s patron saints.

“We are excited to be here at the close of this chapter and the beginning of a new one,” she said. “It’s new history for our congregation.”

In its place the school plans to build a new main entrance, an academic building and a large chapel to seat 170. The renovations are scheduled to be ready for the 2020 school year.

“It’s a significant moment for the school,” said Joseph Vorbach, head of school. “A lot of robust planning has gone into this — the prayerful involvement of our board and our community, the conversations with the sisters, and the support of the bishop. All of this has evolved over the past couple of years, and to get to this point and see that something very tangible is happening is exciting.”

Crews are scheduled to continue with the demolition until August 24. 


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018