Cathedral Preparatory School
Villa Maria Academy
Cathedral Preparatory School
Villa Maria Academy

Cathedral Prep Campus Consolidation Plan

Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy have a long-standing history in the Erie Community beginning in 1921 and 1892 respectively. Throughout their history Cathedral Prep has remained an all-boys institution focusing on developing men of vision in spirit, mind and body. Villa began as an all-girls boarding school in 1892, became coeducational in 1989, and went back to an all-girls school following the merger with Cathedral Prep in 2009.  Both campuses have continued to provide a college preparatory academic environment like no other.  As times are changing and the landscape of Catholic education continues to evolve, we want to continue to remain on the cutting edge of technology and educational programs. Through the generosity of many donors we are excited to announce the GROUNDBREAKING expansion of the Cathedral Prep campus which will include a $12,500,000 million dollar addition focusing on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) programs and courses. The new building will also include a Student Life Center, which will serve the dual purpose of a dining and learning space. Additionally, the former pool space will be divided to create a dance studio and fitness center, and the Prep library will be transformed into a chapel. The decision to streamline all resources into this bold initiative also comes with the understanding and appreciation that all students benefit from this amazing facility.  Thus, the students at the Villa campus will move to the Prep Campus in September 2022 creating a coed Catholic college preparatory school with cutting-edge Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Mathematics facilities and programs.

Chris Hagerty ’75, President, offers “We are genuinely excited to lead the way on taking our school and Catholic education to the next level.  By combining capital and human resources, we are creating a spiritual, academic, performing/visual arts, and athletic powerhouse.”

The Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, Bishop of Erie, echoed Mr. Hagerty’s sentiments. “The initiative bringing Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy together, housed under one roof, has my total support. I am grateful for the recommendation of the board and of the school’s president, Chris Hagerty.

This is an important step to support and enhance Catholic secondary education in the city of Erie. The hopes of those who came before us, including Archbishop John Mark Gannon who founded Cathedral Preparatory School, and the Sisters of St. Joseph, who guided generations of students through Villa Maria Academy, will continue to be realized.

I also am very pleased by the school’s commitment to the community as it invests $12.5 million in the heart of downtown Erie. It’s a strong vision for the future, and area families seeking a Catholic education are extremely fortunate they will continue to have options.”

Construction on the Cathedral Prep campus will begin in May of 2021 and will be completed prior to the 2022-2023 school year. Jim Gallagher, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Erie, added, “This is a bold and important step for Prep-Villa. I am pleased they are responding to the changing circumstances within our community and the needs of Catholic education. This move contributes to the overall vision of Catholic education in the diocese and creates exciting possibilities for future students.” Some of the new programs that will be available to all our students will be E-sports, Robotics, Engineering, Cybersecurity, Design & Fabrication, TV/Video Production, etc. We will also be updating our music, visual and performing arts spaces which will include a choir studio, dance studio and visual arts space. This will position Cathedral Preparatory School to build on the successes of the past while boldly looking to the future and continuing to be one of the premier college preparatory schools in the country.

For the media, please direct all questions to Lauren Varner, VP of Advancement (814-453-7737, Ext. 3245 or

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