NEW ROCHELLE, NY — As Iona Prep enters its Centennial year, it is embarking upon a capital campaign that will greatly enhance the arts and technology offerings at the all-boys, Catholic Upper and Lower Schools. The Centennial Campaign for Excellence’s goal of $10M will provide facility enhancements and instructional improvements at both campuses. Brick-and-mortar components include an expansion of the Paul Verni Fine Arts Center at the Upper School to house additional instructional space and a 435-seat auditorium, as well as a renovation of the Library and Technology Center at the Lower School, complete with a Makerspace and Storytelling room.
“We have much to look forward to and the plan for this enhancement is an amazing way to kick off our Centennial year,” said Brother Thomas Leto, President of Iona Prep. “Our school holds a strong commitment to the arts and technology, and it is an exciting prospect to have our campus match the vision of an Iona Prep graduate. The Gael Force Live daily news productions, musical and theater performances, and better access to technology allows our students to be well-rounded and on the cutting edge, with the skills they need to lead today and into the future. We look forward to providing even more of these educational opportunities.”
Currently, the Verni is home to the Upper School’s art and music classes, where students take their ideas from concept to completion. In art, this covers a variety of mediums, from pencil to pastel, while music students learn the process of creating their own compositions.
“Iona Prep has always been near and dear to my heart. The Verni Center is an extension of our family and Paul’s legacy,” Centennial Co-Chair John A. Verni ’80, P’08,’13,’14 said of the fine arts building named after his brother, Paul ’81, who was diagnosed with Leukemia his senior year and died a year after graduation. “Paul was the valedictorian of his class and not only was he a gifted student and athlete, but he was also a talented artist. At the time, Iona Prep did not have the facilities for students to fully express their artistic side. That was the impetus behind the Verni Center, and now the planned expansion will expand on our family’s original intent to provide Iona Prep students with even more educational opportunities in art, drama and music.”
The Lower School Library & Technology Center is frequented by each class in every grade at least once a week, where kindergarten through fourth-grade utilize software to reinforce classroom skills, and the upperclassmen are taught the Microsoft Office Suite.
“Iona Prep has been ambitious about its plans and meticulous in their execution to ensure that students will have access to up-to-date buildings and technology, while enhancing the natural beauty of the campuses,” said Peter A. Gisolfi, founding partner of Peter Gisolfi Associates of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. “With its new theater and additional instructional space, the expanded Verni Center will become the focal point for the arts on the Upper School campus. Opening up the Lower School Library with additional windows and dedicated spaces will make it more welcoming and intimate.”
Construction will commence when the $10 million goal is reached. The Lower School Library will likely be renovated over the course of a summer, while the Verni Center expansion is expected to take twelve to fourteen months.