By Christie L. Chicoine

CS&T Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA – Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Cistone blessed a new academic center and dining hall, central components of a $21 million renovation project at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School Saturday, Feb. 28, following a Mass he celebrated on campus at the former parish Church of the Gesu.

A state-of-the-art academic center, Jesuit Hall features a communications center, two art studios, 16 classrooms and office space for administration and faculty. A television studio is planned for the future.

Housed in the former Jesuit Residence, the structure was built in 1912 but hasn’t been in use since 1980.

Connell White, a freshman who belongs to St. Denis Parish in Havertown, reports to the academic center for Latin, math and history classes. He gave the center’s acoustics high marks.

The academic center connects to the main school building where the multi-tiered Sauter Dining Hall, a former all-purpose room, is located. Increased seating capacity and floor-to-ceiling windows are among its features.

Also included in the renovation project is the Ignatian Room, an area between the two buildings dedicated to St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus. The room includes a life-sized statue of St. Ignatius and, inscribed along the perimeter of the walls in English, Latin, Greek and Mandarin, the Jesuit motto, “For the greater glory of God.”

Another facet of the project is Ignatian Way, a path of 12 bronze medallions depicting key moments in St. Ignatius’ life, that extends from the dining hall to the Ignatian Room.

“We are very glad to be able to utilize the new spaces created in Jesuit Hall and the Sauter Dining Hall,” said Jesuit Father George W. Bur, the school’s president. “We had about 950 students in a building that was constructed in the 1960s to house 800. These new additions allow us to spread out and increase our class offerings while lowering our student-teacher ratio.”

For more information, contact St. Joseph’s Preparatory School at (215) 978-1950.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or