Cincinnati Classical Academy has signed a lease with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to locate the new school on the former campus of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart at 170 Siebenthaler Ave. in Reading, Ohio. The tuition-free public community school will open next year with grades K-6 and will add a grade each year until it serves K-12. The academy will offer a classical liberal arts education with instruction in moral character and civic virtue, and is a candidate member school of the Hillsdale College K-12 Initiative.
The Reading campus was home to Our Lady of Sacred Heart School and parish for decades since its construction in 1962. The parish school closed in 2010, and the building was more recently home to the St. Nicholas Academy until 2019.
Cincinnati Classical Academy’s new campus is situated on 30 acres and includes a 35,000 sq. ft. school building, extensive athletic fields, and a regulation-sized gymnasium. It is located on a cul-de-sac in a residential community that abuts the Village of Evendale.
“We have loved this campus since we first saw it,” said Jed Hartings, Board President. “At the end of a street and surrounded by woods and a stream, it is peaceful, isolated, and safe. And it’s beautiful – an ideal place for learning, play, reflection, and appreciation. We are very fortunate.”
The new school has had interest in the property since 2020, but at that time Ohio law allowed public community schools to locate only in “challenged” school districts. That did not include Reading. In a surprise turn of events, Ohio H.B. 110 removed this restriction starting July 1, 2021.
“We were elated. We contacted the parish immediately to explore their interest,” Hartings said. “We were so fortunate to find a community that shares our values and goals, and that embraced the kind of school we are offering. The campus means a lot to the community, which has several generations of memories there.”
The parishes of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and Ss. Peter and Paul have merged to form Our Lady of the Valley Parish. The merged parish will locate permanently at the former Ss. Peter and Paul Church at 300 W. Vine St. in Reading, OH.
The school’s board was also attracted to Reading’s central location, with proximity to I-75, I-71, and the Ronald Reagan Highway. They aimed to accommodate interest from families throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. Cincinnati Classical Academy will be accepting 415 students for its opening year. According to Hartings, the school received over 150 student applications during the first 24 hours after opening its enrollment application period.