The Fulton School at St. Albans will be merging with Chesterfield Day School ahead of the 2022 school year.
The announcement came Friday via news release after several months of “thorough discussion and an in-depth review” by the governing boards of the two Montessori schools. The merger will be effective July 1, 2022, and the combined schools will operate as The Fulton School at 1100 White Road in Chesterfield.
“The community of St. Albans has been our school’s home for many years,” Pam Cavness, president of the school board at St. Albans, said in the release. “Our families have cherished the beauty and support of this entire village. But the reality is that the majority of our students have, for more than 25 years, resided outside of the St. Albans community, with most living in St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Relocating and reuniting position our head of school, our teachers and our staff to deliver our mission to more students and families, which is the ultimate role of any independent school board.”
In an email, Head of The Fulton School Kara Douglass said moving to a more densely populated area will allow the two schools to be “sustainable” and “more accessible to more students.” She would not provide enrollment details but said the school intends to offer transportation for Franklin County families to its new location.
Because teaching positions are determined by the schools’ student-teacher ration of 15:1, Douglass said no jobs will be eliminated in the merger.
The board of directors intend to sell the 12.6-acre St. Albans property after the merger is completed, Douglass said. It includes the 80,000-square-foot school building at 123 Schoolhouse Road. Douglass did not disclose the asking price. The property is zoned “W” by the county, meaning it could be used broadly by the buyer. Some of the possible mixed uses include agricultural, commercial, some conditional and residential uses, provided any developer heeds the density maximum of one dwelling unit per 40,000 square feet.
The new Fulton School will still compete in MSHSAA events as the Eagles, and the combined Lower School will adopt Chesterfield Day School’s mascot, the Owls.
Opening in 1994, The Fulton School at St. Albans was originally a second campus for Chesterfield Day School, which, founded in 1962, was the first Montessori preschool in the St. Louis area. St. Albans split in 2006 to operate independently.
“In any school merger, mission alignment is crucial,” Chesterfield Day School Board President Lisa Holekamp said in the release. “Since these two schools were once one, we have a rare opportunity and a unique advantage. While they have been independent of each other and have evolved in their own ways over the last fourteen years, they have both remained true to the tenets of the mission that guided the school from its early days.”