Providence Academy set to open in new year
By Josh Staloch
HOWARD – Just 14 months after breaking ground, a new 50-acre, 51,000-square-foot, $12-million facility, located on Shawano Avenue in Howard, will be ready for Providence Academy’s students in early January.
Established in 1993 as an option for Classical Christian Education, Providence Academy has offered private education to families looking for an alternative schooling option – from pre-kindergarden through 12th grade.
Last year, 140 students were enrolled at Providence Academy.
This year, the number is at 190, and next year, school officials expect 220-230 students.
Having outgrown its current facilities inside the former St. Jude Catholic School, located on Division Street in Green Bay, students and staff are looking forward to next month when they begin a new year in their new facility.
“It’s kind of surreal,” Neil Hamel, Providence Academy grammar school principal and sixth-grade teacher, said. “We loved our old facilities, but this is just a work of art. Our educating is not going to change. The way we’re bringing up kids isn’t going to change, now, we’ve got a much more efficient facility to do it in.”
Hamel said the new facility isn’t the end of Providence Academy’s growth.
With class sizes limited to 20 students, he said school officials expect to reach capacity at the new building within the next two years.
From there, Hamel said the academy hopes to expand to two classrooms per grade, which will require additional construction to the school.
He said the school will cross that bridge when it gets there, but for now teachers, staff, students and families look to the new year in a new school building.
And for the Newkirks, a family of four who have attended Providence for several years now, it’s all been worth the wait.
“I think it’s an investment,” John Newkirk said of the new facility. “It’s an option for people who might want a more biblically-based, traditional education. This place is a great alternative for people. I really love this school. The parents are very involved, and everyone helps out, whether it be in the library or filling in as a substitute teacher.”
Christine Newkirk was part of the team in charge of transitioning between the old school and its new facilities.
She said it was amazing to see how eager people were to help with the preparations.
“Everybody’s really excited about the new building,” Christine Newkirk said. “There was quite a bit of help, I think everyone wanted to jump in and do something. A lot of parents volunteered to move boxes over before the movers came, things like that. It seemed like a lot of people wanted to get involved, even more than I was expecting.”
Classes at the new Providence Academy begin Jan. 6.
More information on the school can be found at providencegb.org.