A $22 million, 55,000-square-foot residence hall constructed on the 97-acre campus of EF Academy in Thornwood recently opened its doors to a new group of high school students.
The four-story residence hall was finished in September and joins the private boarding school’s 350,000-square-foot main campus building. The recently renovated main building includes residences, a café, library, classrooms, administrative offices and athletic facilities. The site is also home to a second 50,000-square-foot academic building.
More than 700 students ages 14 to 19 attend the school in the town of Mount Pleasant. According to school officials, this new residence hall positions the academy to gradually increase its enrollment over the next 15 to 20 years and potentially accommodate 1,500 students.
EF Academy, an affiliate of Switzerland-based EF Education First Ltd., bought the former Thornwood Conference Center property at 582-590 Columbus Ave. for $17 million from The Legionaries of Christ. The Legionaries, a Roman Catholic order of priests who used the site for its headquarters and a training seminary, suffered financial losses after scandalous revelations about the order’s founder surfaced following his death in 2008.
The Legionaries acquired the property for $33.7 million in 1996 from IBM Corp., which built the corporate conference center.
Shawna Sullivan Marino, a director with EF Education First, said this new residence hall represents the latest milestone in the ongoing revitalization of the campus. When EF Academy acquired the building in 2014, the for-profit school undertook a $27 million, four-month interior and exterior renovation to convert the former IBM buildings into its new use as a boarding school.
“Whenever possible, we sought to work with local construction partners on the project, which created a significant number of temporary construction jobs,” Marino said.
White Plains-base Scully Construction was one such partner. The company built the 250-bed residence on “a very tight construction schedule,” according to co-owner Brian Keating. Ground was broken on the residence hall in January 2016.
Marino said this residence hall will increase tax revenues to the town, as well as provide community members and students with cultural exchange opportunities.
EF Education First also owns the EF International Language Center in Tarrytown. The Language Center, which is on the 25-acre former Marymount College campus, hosts roughly 5,000 students from 70 countries.
Marino said EF Education First’s Tarrytown campus continues to see improvements and modernizations to its facilities and infrastructure as part of a five-year development plan.
EF Academy has additional campuses in Oxford and Devon, England