Neumann University purchases the property of the Founding Order Convent, almost doubling the size of the campus
Neumann University has reached a deal to purchase the adjacent convent and 63-acre property from its founding order, which will nearly double the size of its Delaware County campus.
Catholic University of Aston will immediately use part of the convent as living space for students and plans to add a student center, ice rink and athletic field over the next 15 years, President de Neumann said , Chris Domes. The convent will also become the main administrative center, freeing up space in the university buildings, he said.
Neumann has had a dormitory waiting list for some time, Domes said, and has rented apartments and hotels, in some cases putting up to three students in a room – something the university doesn’t have. ‘intention to continue after the pandemic. The college, which currently has 600 students in residence, plans that 60 students will move into the convent over the next academic year and 120 over three years.
“It gives us the ability to bring all of our residential facilities back to campus and allows us to create an opportunity for anyone who wants to live here,” Domes said.
Neither Neumann nor the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia disclosed the sale price. Under the agreement, which is expected to be finalized as early as August 30, the 38 sisters who currently live there will have the option to stay until 2030.
The Sisters of St. Francis founded Neumann, then called Collège Notre-Dame des Anges, in 1965. At one time, as many as 120 sisters lived in the 152,000 square foot convent, built in the late 1980s. 1800s. At its peak more than six decades ago, the order numbered approximately 1,600 sisters. Today, there are only 360, living in 19 states, Ireland and Africa, with a median age of 82.
“We have reached a point where we no longer need or can justify owning these facilities and land,” Sister Kathy Dougherty, outgoing congregation minister of the order, said in a statement.
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As many colleges brace for a further drop in high school graduate numbers expected over the next five years, Dome said he sees the growth potential of Neumann, which currently hosts 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. graduate studies. It’s not the only small Catholic college that has added properties in recent years. Gwynedd Mercy University doubled the size of its campus by purchasing an adjacent property from Merck & Co. in 2018.
Domes said the area of the convent that will be used as a dormitory is ready for student occupancy. The order had used it to bring in people from outside for spiritual retreats, he said.
The sale also includes the Sainte-Élisabeth house of the order, a two-story residential facility and office building, two residences also belonging to the sisters and the Notre-Dame des Anges cemetery, which the college has promised to preserve. The order will retain ownership of Red Hill Farm, Clare House, The Hermitages and Assisi House, the sisters’ retreat establishment.