In about two months, the grotto will be demolished unless somebody comes forward to save the structure and have it moved to a new location. School alumnae are working on it, writes Asheville Citizen-Times columnist Rob Neufeld, who blogs it here:
The alumnae have two months to save the grotto before it has to be demolished for new construction at A-B Tech. Bill Wescott, Historic Preservation Consultant, has determined that the structure is stable.
“We are looking for a home for the grotto,” Osteen-Cochrane, lead alumna in the Save-the-Ivy campaign, emphasizes. “It could be located at a church or another appropriate site, and it could be repurposed for rest and meditation.”
There’s a lot of cool history connected with St. Genevieve and the grotto. Here’s some, from Carolina Day School:
Nuns from a French order known as “The Religious of Christian Education” established St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines (SGP) in 1908. In the beginning, it was both a day school for boys and girls ages six to thirteen, and a boarding school for girls ages fourteen to eighteen. In 1912, St. Genevieve’s College was added, which offered a two-year course in French as well as a four-year liberal arts curriculum. In 1930, the college evolved into a two-year college, named St. Genevieve’s Junior College, which operated until 1955, when it became the School for Secretaries. In 1949, the boys in grades K-8 from the day school moved into a separate building, and Gibbons Hall School for Boys was founded. Both SGP and Gibbons Hall were accredited by SACS; in fact, SGP was a charter member. At its zenith, the campus on Victoria Road encompassed over 35 acres.
Asheville Country Day School
Asheville Country Day School (ACDS) was founded in 1936 by a group of local parents who sought better high school preparation for their children. First housed on Victoria Road, the K-9 school grew quickly.
In the 1960s and 1970s, private schools all over the country struggled to stay open. By 1971, the religious order was no longer able to support both SGP and Gibbons Hall. With the help of parents, the two schools merged to form St. Genevieve/Gibbons Hall School (SG/GH). SG/GH was an independent, co-ed, day school for boys and girls in kindergarten through ninth grade. In 1984, in an effort to combat rising costs and declining enrollments at both schools, SG/GH and ACDS began merger talks. In 1987, the two schools finally merged. The Victoria Road campus was sold to Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College (AB-Tech), and a new school, Carolina Day School, was born on the Hendersonville Road campus.