GLADSTONE, N.J., April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gill St. Bernard's School has recently completed the acquisition of 128 contiguous acres. The property is located across St. Bernard's Road from the school. The private transaction was completed on March 2 and was in-part a gift from the previous owner, Betsy Michel, of Chester Township. The gift was completed on April 1. The acquisition increases the size of Gill St. Bernard's campus to 208 acres.
The land is comprised mostly of farmland preserved for agricultural use including the construction of farm and agricultural buildings. Approximately 18 acres are zoned for residential development.
This is the second time the school, which was founded in 1900, has owned the property. The land was originally purchased by the school in 1942 and used for boarding and other student activities until it was sold to Carl and Betsy Shirley (Michel's parents) in 1965. For more than five decades, the family farm produced hay, raised chickens, cattle, pigs, goats and donkeys, and kept bees. Betsy Michel, is a longtime friend and supporter of Gill St. Bernard's and was happy to "return" the farm to its original owners.
"Gill St. Bernard's School has been a great neighbor for many, many years," said Michel. "I have seen the school grow tremendously and am pleased to see the property go back to the school."
Short-term, the property will accommodate the school's operations department and equipment. The apartments and living space on the property will be used to house critical school employees such as security and housekeeping. The new property will also immediately allow for the expansion of Gill's farm-to-table program and, in June, for use as additional property by Hi-Hills Summer Camp, a division of Gill St. Bernard's School.
Gill St. Bernard's Headmaster Sid Rowell said the property will also be used for the expansion of the school's many academic programs including those involving place-based learning once the 2015-16 school year is underway in September.
"This is a major milestone for Gill St. Bernard's School," he said. "It is a rare opportunity for the school to reacquire a piece of its history. The farm is a real gem and part of Gill's past, present and future. We are extremely grateful to the Michel family for this generous gift and are very excited about all the possibilities the new property presents for our school."
Gill St. Bernard's School (GSB), established in 1900, is an independent college preparatory school located in Gladstone, NJ for grades Pre-K through 12.
SOURCE Gill St. Bernard's School