CLAYTON (KMOX) — Fontbonne University is headed west and expanding in a big way, purchasing the former campus of John F. Kennedy High School in west St. Louis County.

Fontbonne’s flagship campus is in Clayton. This new campus is located north of Manchester Rd. off of Highway 141.

University President Michael Pressimone says the new campus will provide much needed space for “Griffin” athletic programs.

“In addition to the field complex, the indoor facilities will allow us to accomodate necessary indoor practices and to expand the number of sports that we offer and the size of our rosters,” Pressimone said during a Monday news conference.

Fontbonne will also offer graduate degrees and undergraduate degree completion programs at the new campus, as Pressimone said that the regional population continues to migrate west. The degree completion programs fit into the Regional Chamber’s goal of growing the local population will college degrees.

“We plan to hit the ground running,” Pressimone said about the launch of six new programs.

He was joined by St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson who closed the high school after the 2016-17 school year due to declining enrollment. Carlson joked that, as someone who moved here from elsewhere, he doesn’t have an answer to the quintessential St. Louis question of ‘where did you go to high school?’

john f kennedy catholic high school1 Fontbonne Looks Westward, Purchases Former High School Campus

(Courtesy of John F. Kennedy Catholic High School/Facebook)

Those whose answer to that question is “JFK” will have their records maintained by Fontbonne, which also agrees to maintain access to the campus for graduates.

Does this mean the current campus will be diminished?

“We remain fully committed to our Clayton home,” Pressimone emphasized, saying all residential students will continue to be housed here.

Fontbonne is working through re-zoning now and expects to begin construction by next summer with an opening in 2019. Terms of the deal with the Archdiocese weren’t released.

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