A new private high school is coming to Richmond in the old location of one of the region’s oldest private schools.

Cristo Rey Richmond High School will be the 36th Cristo Rey high school in the U.S. and the Catholic high school “will educate young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose and service,” according to a description of the school’s mission. The school is slated to open in 2019-20.

The school will be housed in the Museum District at the former home of Benedictine High School on Sheppard Street. The initial class of freshmen is expected to have 100 members with a full capacity of 400 students by 2023.

Benedictine — established in 1911 — announced in 2011 that it was selling its campus at 304 N. Sheppard St. to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Benedictine moved to a new campus at 12829 River Road. Seven years later, the old campus has a new tenant.

“It’s an architectural gem,” said Peter McCourt, who was recently announced as the school’s president, adding that he’s looking forward to Cristo Rey Richmond “building on the legacy” of Benedictine.

Benedictine is also a Catholic private school.

McCourt, a former vice president for Bon Secours Virginia Medical Group, started Jan. 15 after a national search for a president.

The Cristo Rey Network chose Richmond for a new school in 2016. The school is partnering with local businesses that will employ students, according to a news release. Students will work one day per week in a “Corporate Work Study Program” to help fund their tuition.

Students work in teams of four to cover Monday-through-Friday business-hour shifts during the school year. Their class schedules are built so that they won’t miss class in order to work.

McCourt said Tuesday that the jobs from businesses like Dominion Energy and Bon Secours will fund about half of students’ tuition, a cost estimated at being around $12,000 to $13,000 per year.

“By the end of the four years, they will have that business and that college preparatory experience,” he said.

The remaining cost will be covered mostly by scholarships and about 10 percent covered by families, he added.

The Cristo Rey Network of Catholic schools is spread across 21 states and Washington, D.C. The Chicago-based network was founded in 1996.

“The Cristo Rey Network is eager to provide more families in Richmond access to an affordable, Catholic, college preparatory education,” said Elizabeth Goettl, the president and CEO of the network, in a prepared statement.

The Richmond area has two other Catholic high schools — Saint Gertrude High School, an all-girls school that also calls the Museum District home, and Blessed Sacrament Huguenot in Powhatan County.

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Education Reporter

Justin Mattingly covers K-12 schools and higher education. A northern New York native and a Syracuse University alumnus, he's worked at the RTD since 2017. You can follow him on Twitter at @jmattingly306.

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