Private school trades Sheppard Street for Monument Avenue

Richmond Preparatory Academy leased 8,000 square feet in the Westminster Presbyterian Church’s administration building at 4103 Monument Ave. in Richmond. (J. Elias O’Neal)

A local private school’s hunt for a new home has ended – and the move is taking it from the Museum District to a West End church.

Richmond Preparatory Academy is leasing about 8,000 square feet in the administration building of the Westminster Presbyterian Church at 4103 Monument Ave.

The school had been operating in the former Benedictine College Preparatory School at 304 N. Sheppard St. since 2012, but had to leave the location to make way for Cristo Rey Richmond, the new, local offshoot of a national network of Catholic private schools that’s set to open in 2019.

Richmond Prep lead administrator Jonathan Bibbs said the school began moving into its new digs at the beginning of the month to begin accommodating its summer programs and to get the site ready for the 2018-19 school year.

The former Benedictine building awaits the arrival of Cristo Rey. Photo by Mike Platania.

“We like the idea of being partnered with church ministries, and this move provided that opportunity,” Bibbs said of the new location. “Also being between Byrd Park and downtown was appealing to us because that allows our families better access to the school.”

Broker Nathan Hughes with Sperity Real Estate Ventures represented Richmond Prep in its lease. John Jay Schwartz with Have Site Will Travel represented the landlord.

Richmond Prep was founded by Bibbs’ mother, Yvonne Jones Bibbs, in 1983 as Sixth Baptist Christian School. Over the years, the school has relocated a few times to spots on West Grace and West Main, before landing on Sheppard Street in 2012 as Benedictine was relocating to Goochland.

While its space at Westminster will host all of Richmond Prep’s grade levels, Bibbs said the school is scouting a second campus to accommodate its elementary and middle school students next year, while its preschool and pre-K programs would remain and grow at Westminster.

“Our goal is to spread out throughout the region,” Bibbs said. “We want to provide options for families, and improve the educational outcomes in the city.”

The school enrolls about 154 students and employs about 30 people.

Richmond Prep includes before- and after-school care in its tuition, which ranges from $5,100 to $7,250 per year, depending on the number of children enrolled and grade level.

Lynnhaven Academy, another small local private school, also had been based in the former Benedictine building. It moved last year to a permanent home in Forest Hill.

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