St. Mary's Academy on its Day of Dedication
September 7, 1891
From its inception as St. Mary’s Academy in 1887, the building later known as St. Patrick’s School would operate as a Catholic school in Danville for more than a century. The Sisters of the Holy Cross began raising funds for the second St. Patrick School in 1887, the same year that the city of Danville became part of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Illinois. The Catholic all-girl boarding house St. Mary’s Academy opened on September 7, 1891 with an enrollment of 200 pupils. The building was later dedicated on November 8, 1891. The cost of the building was reported to be $30,000 and tuition to attend the school was set at $75 for a five month period. The Sisters who ran the school taught a curriculum of “a regular academic course” as well as vocal and instrumental music, drawing, painting, and fancy work.
St. Patrick's School
(After its 1910 Renovation)
The building would be known as St. Mary’s Academy until around 1910 when it became known as St. Patrick’s School and began admitting boys as well as girls. Also in 1910 the west façade of the building was completely redone and the interior of the building was painted. The structure and square footage of the building was maintained at 19,986 square feet.
In 1956 plans to expand the school were proposed and after several years of planning and construction. The master plan called for not only a remodel/renovation of the St. Patrick building, but also the construction of an entire new building addition (the building now known as Kenneth D. Bailey Academy). The cost of remodeling/renovating the old building was reported to be $50,000, while the cost of constructing the new building was $300,000. The new addition was completed before the opening of the 1961 school year and had a square footage of 20,606 square feet. The expanded St. Patrick’s School would open in 1961 with an enrollment of 495 students, including 55 Kindergarten students.
On August 29, 1978, the school known as St. Patrick’s was renamed Holy Family School in a move that also combined two of the Catholic parishes of Danville, St. Patrick and St. Joseph. Holy Family School had an initial enrollment of 245 students when it opened under its new name in 1978.
Holy Family School closed its doors after the 2011 school year. The building sat vacant for the summer and fall of 2011 as the teachers and students were moved into the newly developed Schlarman Academy with all K-8 Catholic students attending one campus (formerly known as St. Paul’s School) and all 9-12 students attending another campus (the site of Schlarman High School).
Danville School District No. 118 elected to purchase the building from the Catholic Diocese of Peoria in the spring of 2012 and plans were made to demolish the older St. Patrick’s building as it would take too much money to bring it up to building code. The expansion of the building built in 1961 would become the new home of all alternative programs for District 118, and was decided to be named Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, in honor of the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from Danville.
Kenneth D. Bailey Academy officially opened its doors on August 27, 2012 with an enrollment of 84 students; 44 high school students and 40 middle school students. The building was dedicated on September 27, 2012, the 60th anniversary of Major Bailey’s death.