Stella Maris Academy purchases former Hills facility for new high school campus

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On Wednesday, Stella Maris Academy announced the purchase of the former Hills Youth and Family Services facility as the new campus for their upcoming Catholic high school.

The Academy purchased the Hills facility for a pricetag of $4 million.

Located in the Woodland neighborhood at 4321 Allendale Ave., the new campus is set to open as the high school in fall of 2022.

In a statement, President of Stella Maris Academy, Andrew Hilliker said, "Many people have been working hard and praying for a long-term, viable place to welcome students to high school in the Fall of 2022. This property is bringing our efforts and goals to a very real and meaningful place. Our students will feel the benefits of this for years to come and we are forever grateful for the opportunity."

When the academy announced their plans to expand their education to high school students in February of 2021, there were no plans to purchase a new facility. Officals at the time told WDIO that their existing facilities will be used to house the new grades to keep costs low.

However, when the Hills Youth and Family Services abruptly closed its doors on June 30th, 2021, Stella Maris Academy submitted a purchase offer secured entirely by private donations, according to the academy.

After transitioning into Duluth’s first Catholic high school in nearly 50 years, the buildings, property, and 140 acres of land directly adjacent to St. John’s parish and campus will return to it’s Catholic roots, as the facility opened originally in 1910 as St. James Orphanage, operated by the Diocese of Duluth.

Later this year, Stella Maris Academy will welcome its students, families, local parishes, and the wider Duluth community to the property with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebrating this momentous occasion. A date has yet to be determined.