St. Margaret of Scotland

Archbishop Robert Carlson ceremonially breaks ground on the new St. Margaret of Scotland school building on Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Margaret of Scotland School didn’t set out to build the first new Catholic parish school building in St. Louis in 50 years. It just ran out of classrooms.

“We’re so crowded right now I always say don’t try and stretch because there’s not room,” St. Margaret Principal Juliann DePalma Hesed said. “Every corner of our building is used. Our cafeteria is our cafeteria but it is used eight different times (a week) for classes that don’t have a classroom.”  

According to Hesed, the school began seeing growth in the early 2000s after decades of serving 230 - 260 students.

Maureen McCollum / Wisconsin Public Radio

Catholic education has deep roots in St. Louis, but some schools have struggled amid shrinking enrollment. 

The Archdiocese of St. Louis announced last month that it had selected Kurt Nelson as the new Superintendent of Catholic Education.  Since 2006, Nelson has served the president of Aquinas Catholic Schools in La Crosse, Wis.  He will take over as the head of Catholic schools in St. Louis on July, 1. He replaces George Henry, who held the job since 1995.