History of the School

Present day Roanoke Catholic School had its origins over a century ago when two lay women of St. Andrew’s parish opened a school in the parish hall of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in the fall of 1889. Four years later, in 1893, the sisters of Charity from Nazareth, Kentucky, came to teach in the new school. Important benchmarks in the school’s history have been:

  • 1898 – A major gift from Mrs. Thomas Fortune Ryan provided the funds for the construction of a two-story red brick building.
  • 1931 – St. Andrew parish constructed a new high school building. This structure currently houses grades PK-2.
  • 1950 – Our Lady of Nazareth and St. Andrew’s schools consolidated their high schools to form Roanoke Catholic High.
  • 1961 – The present high school building and gymnasium were completed.
  • 1973 – All of the elementary grades were brought together in the facilities on the grounds of St. Andrew’s, forming the consolidated Roanoke Catholic Elementary School.
  • 1980 – The kindergarten program was added.
  • 1985 – The elementary and high schools were merged into a K-12 unit.
  • 1993 – A preschool program was added. This program was housed at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church due to the lack of space on the existing campus.
  • 1999-2000 – A Multi-Purpose building was added and joins both the old lower and upper school buildings. This structure included classrooms, a media center, administrative complex, chapel, science labs and a new cafeteria.
  • 2001 – The preschool was relocated to Roanoke Catholic School Campus and is currently housed in our Lower School building. There are full-day programs for 3, 4 and 5-year-olds.
  • 2012 – The Lower School building windows were replaced with energy-efficient double-paned windows for the first time since they were originally installed. A new, quiet, energy-efficient HVAC system was installed to replace the former window units. A new front door and blinds were installed in 2013.
  • 2012 – The Upper School Gymnasium roof was resurfaced and the exterior painted to give a fresh, new look to the 50-year-old building.
  • 2013 – Upper School Gymnasium renovations continued with interior paint, new lighting and complete replacement of the original floor.
  • 2015 – Roanoke Catholic celebrated its 125th year, renaming Upper School Gymnasium the “Gillespie Family Gymnasium” in honor of the Gillespie family’s support of Roanoke Catholic School.
  • 2016 – Exterior renovation to the Upper School building completed with installation of new doors, windows and EIFS building material.
  • 2017 – Started a partnership with Wilson International, a premier boarding company that provides 24 beds in their downtown boarding facility for Roanoke Catholic international and domestic students. Lower School building upgraded with more energy efficient LED lighting.
  • 2018 – Enhancements made to school chapel, LED lighting installed in our Multi-Purpose Building, and air-conditioning in our Gillespie Family Gymnasium.
  • 2019 – New bleachers installed in Gillespie Family Gymnasium and air-conditioning installed in our Upper School building.