From Blizzard to Rebirth: St. John School in Hollywood Reopens in New Building

January 03, 2011

It was the subject of national news: the second blizzard to hit the Washington area dumped so much heavy snow so quickly that a portion of the St. John School in Hollywood, Maryland collapsed. Helicopter images from above showed how severe the damage was to the 1953 section of the school – that building had to be taken down.

That was last February. Now just eleven months later, the school is reopening. The 1953 building was rebuilt from the ground up, and the 1924 section underwent a complete renovation, updating the structure and modernizing the facilities.

Monday, January 3, 2011
7:50 a.m.
First Day of Class in St. John School
43900 St. John’s Road, Hollywood, MD

Sunday, February 6, 2011
11:30 a.m.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl to Celebrate Mass and Bless the New School
St. John Church and School
43927 St. John’s Road, Hollywood, MD

The energy-efficient redesign and modernization of the school included input by teachers and staff. The new classrooms have been resized to make them more conducive to learning. All classrooms now have smart boards, internet wiring and more natural light. The two-story building includes 12 instructional areas, a science lab, a library media center, art room and music room. With the new updates, the school is now able to launch a STEM program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program).

The grounds have been graded, so the lower level classes have full size windows and an egress. The upstairs classes also have full size windows and direct egress. The center of the building has windows within a raised roof to provide natural light into the atrium. Insurance and pledges covered the replacement cost of rebuilding St. John School, meeting all current building codes.

The school includes kindergarten to eighth graders. Since the collapse, the students had been attending classes in the former Holy Angels-Sacred Heart School in Avenue, Maryland.

Parents, teachers and staff are calling this a rebirth, and not a rebuilding. They gave up most of their Christmas break to have the classrooms set up and organized for the children to return. Teachers, staff and volunteers unloaded boxes, moved in desks, hung posters and pictures on the walls, set up bulletin boards and helped teachers settle in. Volunteers from the Knights of Columbus transported library books, salvaged from the library, from a storage unit where they had been stored.

In February, Cardinal Wuerl will celebrate Mass and bless the new school.

The parish is over 300 years old and the school has been educating children for 87 years.

The Archdiocese of Washington serves nearly 29,000 students in 98 elementary, secondary, special schools, and early learning centers in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]