The Pingry School, an independent, co-educational, K-12 day school with campuses in Basking Ridge and Short Hills, is in the final stages of acquiring the campus of Purnell School in the Pottersville section of Bedminster Township.
The Pingry School plans to utilize the Pottersville Campus as an extension of its existing campuses to expand on programming for its 1,177 current students and 290 employees in support of Pingry’s 2018 Strategic Plan. The acquisition comes after Purnell School’s February 2021 announcement that it will cease operations after 57 years upon the completion of the 2020-2021 academic year.
The 82-acre Pottersville Campus, a 20-minute drive from Pingry’s Basking Ridge Campus and a 40-minute drive from its Short Hills Campus, includes 22 buildings: community and collaboration spaces, classrooms and labs, an indoor athletic facility, a performing arts building, residential dormitories for students, and housing for employees. The grounds include a community “quad” and several athletic fields.
Jeffrey N. Edwards, Pingry alumnus and chair of its board of trustees, said, “This historic opportunity to procure the Pottersville campus is transformative for Pingry. It propels forward our 2018 Strategic Plan, significantly advancing and accelerating our goals in a very cost-effective way. It strongly reaffirms our commitment to excellence by allowing us to offer a truly differentiated educational experience.”
Pingry’s Head of School Matt Levinson echoed Edwards’ sentiments. “Pingry’s unparalleled educational experience is student-centered. This new campus will enable expanded programming that strongly supports our educational core competencies, teaching and learning innovation, global and experiential education, and community well-being. This next chapter extends our commitment to delivering education and learning in settings beyond the traditional classroom, building upon our faculty’s incredible work and deepening our students’ learning. The Pottersville Campus will be an exciting place for innovation, immersion, and learning-by-doing.”
Pingry’s Director of Experiential Education Rebecca Sullivan said, “We are excited about the immersive experiences and student programming that can be developed with a community space like the Pottersville Campus. The dormitories allow us to give our students short-term, overnight, immersive programming without having to be a boarding school.”
Purnell School received multiple offers to acquire the campus. Ultimately, The Pingry School was chosen due to strong alignment of educational mission and aspirations. The Pingry School will carry on the Purnell legacy through the establishment of the Purnell Scholarship Fund at Pingry. “Purnell School’s mission to meet the needs of individual students was unique at the time of our founding.” said Martha Gallo, co-chair of Purnell School’s board of trustees. “We are excited about Pingry’s vision for the property and grateful for its commitment to preserving our legacy.”
“Purnell’s trustees are also thankful to ConnectOne Bank for providing important bridge financing to Purnell during this period of transition,” added Genevieve Madigan, co-chair of Purnell’s board of trustees.
Bedminster Mayor Larry Jacobs said, “We are thrilled that Pingry, a world-class independent school, has chosen to begin operations in our township. The campus is a gem and we are excited that it will continue to be used for its highest and best use – educating the world’s future leaders. Pingry’s commitment to stewardship and environmental sustainability aligns with the values we hold true. On behalf of Bedminster, we welcome Pingry to our community and look forward to engagement with the Pingry students, faculty and administration.”
The Pingry School and Purnell School are still negotiating the final details of the contract and the completion of the sale is subject to terms and conditions being met by both parties.
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