Will the project be disruptive to our students?
Initial demolition will begin at the end of May at a time when lunches are already typically fun events held outside the cafeteria (such as for Field Day and our schoolwide picnic). Lunch will still be available to purchase during this time. Noise disruption will be minimal. The project will be completed before students return to school in September.
Will this increase the cost of WMA's lunch program?
The cost of this project will not impact the price of the lunch program.
How will the renovation improve food quality and quantity for the students?
A reconfigured kitchen space and new equipment will allow kitchen staff to prepare more food varieties than the current space and supplies allow - including for options that serve the appetites and allergy needs of our student population. The larger, revitalized food line will have space for the larger variety of food options, and will include a salad bar.
How will this project improve lunchtime for the students?
Students will have a brighter, more welcoming space to enjoy their most social hour of the day. Students who bring their lunches from home will be able to fill up water bottles inside the cafeteria. Installation of an ADA-compliant bathroom will keep students under supervision at all times.
All students will have the options to purchase more food varieties. The renovated food line will give students adequate space to make food selections. Addition of a second cash register will cut down on the time students spend in line.
Will my child/ren still have the option to buy lunch occasionally?
Yes. Aside from the increased food options, there will be no changes to our lunch program.
Will this increase tuition?
No, tuition will not increase as a result of the cafeteria renovations. This project will be fully funded by philanthropy.
How will this improve the use of space for parents, teachers, and alumni?
The reconfiguration of space will result in two, centrally located common areas: the student dining room, and a smaller room off the main entrance. Both spaces will have state-of-the-art technology that can be used for educational purposes during the day, or for meetings and special events in the evenings and on weekends. Faculty and staff will use the smaller room at lunchtime, but it will also be used throughout the day as a meeting and multi-use space. It will also be available for the parent community, and possibly the external community, for meetings and small gatherings after school hours.
Why is the renovation needed now?
Students are our top priority. Waldron Mercy Academy has received philanthropic support from parents, alumni, faculty and staff and strategically invested in the student experience through enhanced curricula, expanded extracurriculars, and capital improvements. Investing in the cafeteria wing is the next necessary step to immediately improve our students’ experience.
New families touring the school are impressed by our students, the curriculum, and the building itself. To continue to be competitive in attracting new students and retaining our current ones, Waldron Mercy Academy must update the cafeteria into a modern, flexible-use space.
How is philanthropy essential to Waldron Mercy?
Support for the Annual Fund, Tigerfest, and Spin & Win Casino night help to underwrite the difference between tuition ($15,450 for the current school year) and the actual cost of educating each child ($18,481) so that tuition can be kept affordable.
Capital improvements, including the full renovation of the cafeteria area, are funded exclusively through philanthropy and reserves, not debt financing. Reserves are only used if gifts do not cover the full cost of the project. In the most recent example, the extensive renovations to the two playgrounds were funded primarily through philanthropy; the reserves were used for necessary safety improvements not covered by donations. Capital projects are not funded through increases in tuition.
WMA is fiscally sound. Philanthropy from all members of our community (current and past parents, alumni, faculty and staff, trustees, and corporate support) is essential to maintain sound fiscal management.
What recent improvements has Waldron Mercy implemented?
Waldron Mercy’s strategic plan for 2015-2020 prioritized curricula and extracurricular enhancements funded through tuition and fundraising. WMA expanded its Spanish language program, increasing classroom time across all ages, and both the math and STEM curricula were enhanced. Waldron Mercy also expanded sports teams, adding CYO basketball teams, and increased offerings for younger students. New security systems were put in place to keep the building more secure.
WMA community members are currently in the process of developing a new strategic plan to continue to move the school forward.
What are some of WMA’s recent accomplishments?
Waldron Mercy is the first and only school to be honored with a Program of Distinction for Service Learning by the Middle States Association.
WMA is in the midst of a three year plan to build resilience in our students. The Middle States Association is guiding the school through the plan as part of a re-accreditation process.
Within the past two years, Merion Mercy awarded multiple Mercy Scholarships to our female graduates and several male students received full, four-year scholarships to St. Joseph’s Prep and LaSalle College High School.
Several capital improvements were funded through philanthropy and reserves (when needed), including two playgrounds, renovated floors, walls, and classrooms. Bleachers, lighting, and sound were added to the Dixon Gym.