LACONIA — For the first time in 95 years, the corner of Messer and Church streets won't be home to a Catholic school. Come July, Holy Trinity School will be moving to its new home on the Sacred Heart campus, about a mile away.
Holy Trinity School's prior building, which dates back to 1924, is being included as part of a real estate deal between the Saint Andre Bessette Parish and an as-yet undisclosed buyer. The parish is selling the 2.5-acre parcel, which contains the school, as well as Saint Joseph Church and the Busiel Mansion, as it seeks to consolidate all parish activities onto one campus.
The school's new home will be in the Our Lady of Guadelupe Parish Center building, which has previously housed a convent, administrative offices and a high school.
The building has been subject to an extensive renovation. A crew from Bonnette, Page and Stone has stripped and re-treated all the floors, added an elevator, and removed several old bathrooms – designed for use by nuns – and replaced them with facilities suitable for children.
Principal Francine Young said the school's new home will provide the same student capacity as its prior school, but teachers will have a few more tricks up their sleeve.
"There is updated technology throughout the building," Young said. The new school also has a room dedicated for the library, something their old building doesn't have.
Young, who is completing her first year as principal of Holy Trinity, doesn't know what will become of the former school building. The parish isn't disclosing the buyer's identity or what the buyer intends to do with the property. It has announced, however, that the Bishop of Manchester is requiring that Saint Joseph Church be demolished before the property can be transferred.
Jayda Glines, of Meredith, graduated from eighth grade this year, though she still elected to walk with the rest of the school to visit the new building.
"I think it's a good new start, especially with a new principal," Jayda said. However, she said she was glad to finish her time at Holy Trinity in the old building, the same one that her father and some other relatives attended.
Reagan O'Neill, who will begin high school next year at Bishop Brady High School in Concord, also helped shepherd some younger students down Church Street, then Union Avenue, to get a look at the new digs.
O'Neill said Holy Trinity "helps you grow as a person, student and a friend."
Holy Trinity's school year will end next Friday, and the next school year will begin immediately after Labor Day.