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Gadsden County's Robert F. Munroe Day School Moving To A New Campus

Old Campus.jpeg
Robert F. Munroe Day School (used with permission)
The school's current main building in Mt. Pleasant.

Just past its half-century anniversary, the school is relocating from the western to the eastern edge of the county.

Moving day is fast approaching for Gadsden County's oldest private school. The start of the fall semester will see the relocation of the Robert F. Munroe Day School from the western part of the county to a new site near the Leon County line.
Dr. Adam Gaffey is the venerable institution's current Head of School.

"The Robert F. Munroe Day School was founded 51 years ago in Gadsden County as the first private school in the area. And it served a variety of students in the county and expanded to serve students in Georgia and surrounding counties."

Although the school was originally established as a segregation academy, Gaffey said
the current student body is a potpourri of diversity.

"We are very unique for a private school. We have a wide range of different students at our school. We have a large number of minority students, Caucasian students, Hispanic students, students on scholarship, students paying full tuition. So it's a very unique place that's a melting pot of our entire county.

It's also a student body, added Gaffey, that's been steadily increasing in numbers.

"Over the years, the school's grown. We've added grades and students to the point we are now where we have approximately 430 students enrolled at the school in grades 'infant' all the way through 12th grade."

That's also led to a more spread-out campus for the school, which took over the old Mount Pleasant Elementary School as its initial home.

"So the building we're in right now is over 100 years old and this is out in Mt. Pleasant on the west side of Gadsden County. And then we also have an early learning center our infants, 3K and 4K program inside Quincy City limits."

But then came Hurricane Michael in 2018. Head-of-School Gaffey said the century-old Mt. Pleasant schoolhouse took a severe pounding from the storm.

"And as we began looking at the cost of not just repairing the facility, but also bringing it up to modern codes, we realized it would actually be more cost-effective for us to build a brand new campus than it would to continue to build on the campus that we're in."

The first order of business was to secure a building site.

"And we landed on a wonderful 40-acre site just off I-10 on 90 at the Midway Exit."

A big advantage to this location, said Gaffey, is because so many of Munroe High School upper-class students also graduate with AA degrees.

"And one of the things we're excited about is that by moving closer to T.C.C. we're going to be able to better build on that relationship and have more students be able to go to T.C.C. and have the students use their facilities for things like science laboratory or engineering department work."

So what will the new Robert F. Munroe Day School campus look like?

"The lower school is comprised of a number of smaller buildings with 4 classrooms in each building. And they're put together to create a courtyard area in the middle. And then they'll have playground facilities attached to them. That main courtyard will continue down and the buildings for the middle and high school are at the end of the courtyard. That whole area is fenced in. We'll have trees and a lot of nature and outdoor learning sites attached to it."

Most amazing of all, remarked Gaffey, is that the construction is proceeding at incredible speed.

"We are almost completed with our first 6 buildings. They should be up and running by the end of July and we anticipate starting our next school year all 430 students at our new campus."

Although Gaffey says the existing facility for the very littlest Munroe students will remain open in Quincy.

(Following the publication of this story, the administration of the school released this written statement:)

"In the article it was stated that Munroe Day School was established as a Segregation Academy. This statement was not made by anyone associated with the school. The founders of Munroe believed in founding an independent institution to provide excellence in education for any child in Gadsden County and the surrounding area. It was this belief in providing an independent education that focuses on the whole child that resulted in the creation of Munroe, and continues guiding the school over 50 years later."

Dr. Adam Gaffey
Head of School

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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