Holy Family University purchases second campus site in Bucks County

Holy Family University, a small Catholic school based in Northeast Philadelphia, is adding a third campus — its second in Newtown, Bucks County — to help with expanding classroom needs, the president said.

The university purchased a 6.5-acre site with a 47,573-square-foot building that offers 21 classrooms and 10 lab rooms as well as spaces for a library or resource center, bookstore, cafeteria, and an outdoor quad. It will become known as the Newtown West campus. The university’s Newtown East campus is less than two miles away at 1 Campus Dr.

The west site, at 33 University Dr., was owned by La Salle University at one time and still has that name on the building, but Holy Family bought it from its most recent owner, KVK Tech Inc., a Newtown-based company, said president Anne Prisco.

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“We literally are running out of space, in terms of scheduling our classes and accommodating all the new programs we want to build,” said Prisco, who recently completed her first year as president.

The new campus should be ready for students within a year, she said. The university intends to eventually house its new computer science and cybersecurity programs there, including a “hacking lab,” as well as new programming in the health sciences. Both areas have emerged as needs in the local community, Prisco said.

“Those are programs that if students graduate, we know jobs will be waiting for them,” she said.

Holy Family isn’t the only local school that has recently added new space. Neumann University in Aston last summer purchased the adjacent convent and 63-acre property of its founding order, the Sisters of St. Francis, which nearly doubled the size of its Delaware County campus.

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Next week, 40 students will move into the former Our Lady of Angels Convent, a historic structure with a red dome, its first section built in 1873. The section that will house students was the last to be built in 1930. In addition, the basement of the new residence hall, where the college said sisters used to roller skate and play basketball, will be used for activities, the university said.

Holy Family will enroll about 3,100 students this fall, the vast majority of them commuters, Prisco said. While undergraduate enrollment has held steady, the school has lost some graduate students following the pandemic, she said. Many schools lost enrollment after the coronavirus hit.

“Holy Family was able to do well through COVID,” she said. “We are in good shape financially.”

She cited the university’s recent A-rating from Standard & Poor’s, an upgrade. Fitch also gave the school an upgrade in June.

“Securing a strong issuer credit rating from Standard & Poor’s is an important step in the growth of Holy Family University, and is a validation of our vision and strategy to provide a valuable education,” Prisco said in February.

Prisco said Holy Family is preparing for growth with its new programs and expects the school to grow to 3,500 students.

“I’d love to see us push to 4,000,” she said.

She declined to release how much the university paid for the new campus.

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