Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Officials Launch Kelleher Hall Renovation Project 

Demarest, NJ: On February 16, the Academy of the Holy Angels officially launched the extensive renovation of the former convent on the school’s campus. The afternoon ceremony followed nearly two years of preparations for this project, which will enhance the educational opportunities available to AHA’s steadily increasing number of students.

Once home to 40 School Sisters of Notre Dame, the founders and sponsors of AHA, this venerable two-story structure will now become the epicenter of the Academy’s STREAM initiatives. STREAM, which is more inclusive than STEM, encompasses the study of science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and mathematics.

This renovation project is being carried out with the help of a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, who asked that the building be renamed Sister Genevieve Kelleher Hall in honor of the longest-serving SSND at Holy Angels. From 1948 through 2011, Sister Genevieve was school librarian and taught English, French, religion, biology, and history. She also witnessed the school’s 1965 move from Fort Lee to Demarest.

Given AHA’s growth in enrollment, phased updates to the convent began prior to the receipt of the $1 million gift.

AHA President Melinda Hanlon explained that the plans for the renovation project grew out of a comprehensive facilities plan and evaluation.

“We had input from all of our community – students, faculty, parents, and alumnae,” she noted.

The AHA Board of Trustees’ Facilities Committee, which includes President Hanlon and Facilities & Technology Administrator George Ballane, reviewed the school’s program needs. These findings were presented to DiCara/Rubino Architects, who developed the concept drawings for Kelleher Hall. School officials also developed a master campus facilities plan with an eye toward AHA’s mission, and conducted a pre-campaign feasibility study to engage constituents and measure support for a proposed campaign.

The renovation crew will work within the building’s existing footprint, so this event was truly a launch rather than a groundbreaking.  On the first floor, the crew will create two new art studios with an adjacent Mac Lab and two multi-purpose classrooms. Plans also call for structural and cosmetic repairs to the chapel and the inclusion of faculty office space.

The school’s business offices, including the President’s office, the Communications Department, the Finance Department, and the Advancement and Alumnae Office, will be located on the second floor. One large and one small conference room, both of which will be available to the entire school community, will also be part of this space. Thanks to a gift from the SSNDs, updates to the second floor will include an SSND Heritage Suite and archives. This area will be used for religious studies classes, senior seminars, and campus ministry.

School officials anticipate that the renovations will be complete before the start of the 2017-18 academic year, and look forward to hosting Sister Genevieve, who has already expressed her desire to attend the October 2017 blessing of Kelleher Hall.


Since 1879, thousands of women have passed through the portals of Academy of the Holy Angels high school, the oldest private girls’ school in New Jersey. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts and athletics. Our goal is to provide each girl with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically, by offering a first –rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity and giving service to others.

Academy of the Holy Angels

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Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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