After almost a year of planning, Chesterton Academy of the St. Croix Valley is set to open as an independent campus in Stillwater for the 2020-21 school year.

The school, which is currently leasing out space as a satellite location at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, is transferring almost all students and staff to 1835 Northwestern Ave. in Stillwater. The main Twin Cities campus is located in Hopkins.

Chesterton is a network of independent private Catholic high schools that specialize in classical instruction while embracing the liberal arts. Students are required to attend daily mass and take two years of Latin, then choose between Latin III, Spanish or Italian, according to its website.

The first Chesterton Academy was launched in 2008 in St. Louis Park, Minn., and is named after early 20th century English writer and Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton. The St. Croix Valley location will be the 21st campus to open, with 20 in North America and one in Italy.

Tuition for the 2020-21 academic year is $7,850 per student with a $400 book and supply fee.

The St. Paul satellite campus was going to close permanently unless parents of students were willing to lead an effort to establish an independent campus farther east, according to Paul Loomis, president of the St. Croix Valley campus’s board of directors. Since May of last year, parents have been working on securing a campus, and recently signed a seven-year lease for the former Re/Max realty office on Northwestern Avenue.

“We are so appreciative of what the school has done for our kids on the east campus that the parents all agreed that we wanted to go for it,” Loomis said.

The office building is zoned in a business park/industrial district, which typically does not allow the occupancy of schools. The Stillwater city council unanimously voted to grant Chesterton a conditional use permit, which allowed them to sign the lease and start moving into the building on May 1.

“We’re thrilled with the building,” Loomis said. “It’s laid out perfectly for what we’re trying to accomplish, and we’re really excited about the fall.”

The school aims to have about 50 students for the upcoming school year, and is carrying over 27 students from its former St. Paul campus. The building has a maximum occupancy of 140 people.

“We’re extremely optimistic at what we could potentially bring for a freshman class next year,” Loomis said.

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