COLLEGEVILLE -- As students and staff at St. John's Preparatory school wrap-up their school year, some big changes are in the works for next year.

Incoming Head of School Jon McGee will take over on July 1st and will become the first non-monastic head in the school's history. They will also have a new principal next year with Christine Glomski taking over that role.

McGee says their dormitory is also undergoing a major renovation.

We historically have had boarding students here.  We're doing a $5 million renovation on St. Michael Hall - our dorm.  For the first time in the history of the school girls and boys will live in the same dormitory building.

McGee says the girls previous lived at the College of St. Benedict and more recently have been living in a hall on the St. John's campus. St. John's Prep has been co-ed since 1973. About 29 percent of the students live on campus.

Also, new this fall at St. John's Prep - 5th graders. McGee says the added grade level is part of a plan to grow their overall enrollment.

We will have a plan in place by this fall to grow our enrollment.  Beginning this fall we will be grades 5-12, for a number of years we've been 6-12, historically the school was 9-12, so we've been expanding our grade levels.

This year's enrollment is about 260 students and they have a goal of getting to over 300. About a quarter of the 9-12 grade students are international.

George Vedder of Sartell is an 8th grader at the school. He says being close to St. John's University has a lot of advantages.

Being on campus gives us access to all the great stuff that the college students have, so it is good for our education.

The prep school and the university share a lot of common areas like the lunchroom, the library, and athletic spaces.

The students come from 20 central Minnesota communities, as well as 13 different countries.

Vedder says being enrolled at the school out in Collegeville does come with some challenges.

It is farther away.  My old school was like five minutes away from our house.  It is definitely worth it coming here, but it is a far drive.  I think my bus ride is 25-30 minutes.

McGee says, because students come from several area towns, they have to work harder to create a sense of community on campus.

St. John's Prep is the oldest continuously operating school in Minnesota, dating back to 1857, making it one year older than the state of Minnesota.

The 162nd graduation at St. John's Prep is Saturday, May 25th.

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