The Infant of Prague school is expanding

The Infant of Prague Catholic School, located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, has been providing a high quality Catholic education to K-8 students in the Jacksonville area since the early 1950s. With the continued growth of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps and surrounding coastal areas, the school has seen a 95% increase in student enrollment over the past decade.

While IOPCS has expanded in recent years to provide multiple classrooms for a number of grade levels, the existing school building is at capacity. Additionally, there is great interest in Catholic education beyond grade 8 in the region.

“Our parish community is vibrant,” said Jennifer Feldhaus, director of IOPCS. “All of our ministry areas, not just the school, but also our youth programs, thrift store, and outreach resource center are growing. We were simply no longer able to meet the growing demand for access to quality Catholic education.

Thanks to the generosity and strong desire to support the Catholic education of the parishioners of the Child of Prague, the parish recently purchased in cash an existing school building and chapel just 800 meters from its current school campus.

“Across the diocese, we always seek to meet local needs for Catholic education,” said Lytia Reese, school superintendent for the Diocese of Raleigh. “While the demand in the Jacksonville area is not unique, we are fortunate to have a growth ‘problem’ in a number of areas in our diocese. The parish response, however, was exceptional. The Infant of Prague community has truly invested in the future of their parish and school through this effort.

Renovations will be required to transform the building into traditional classrooms, bring these classrooms and common areas into line with modern building codes, and update all facilities. Since the building was not used as a traditional school but as a Sunday school, the property will require a change of use designation with the City of Jacksonville.

“Although the building will require significant work before it is ready to serve our growing school community, we are fortunate that the location of the building and the overall design are ideal for our needs,” said Jose Cabrera, principal. commercial of Infant of Prague. “The City of Jacksonville was also extremely helpful and cooperative throughout the process.”

The planned start time for construction will be October 2022, with the school scheduled to open in August 2023. In addition to expanding additional K-8 classrooms, the building will allow for additional levels to be added for the parish to provide a full kindergarten through high school for students in the area.

“We are committed to providing a high quality spiritual and educational Catholic school experience and partnering with our parents,” Feldhaus said. “This expansion is truly an extension of that partnership, and we are grateful and very excited about what the future holds.”


Berta D. Wells