D'Youville College and the Buffalo School Board have reached an agreement on expanding Leonardo da Vinci High School on the college campus, starting with 100 additional students this fall.
Some of D'Youville's facilities will be used to expand da Vinci into a full-time high school attracting high-achieving students citywide.
Da Vinci plans to expand its current 234-student enrollment to 400 in the next four years.
A college-prep program with high standards, da Vinci has been affiliated with D'Youville since 1987. The high school students have been attending their own classes in a self-contained area at D'Youville for half a day and then spending the rest of the day at nearby Grover Cleveland High School.
By allowing da Vinci to become a stand-alone magnet school housed on D'Youville's Porter Avenue campus, the college will get expanded facilities to accommodate as many as 400 high school students full time.
"Our studies show we can accommodate the expansion of da Vinci," said Donald G. Keller, vice president for operations at D'Youville. "We are currently renovating the former Holy Angels Elementary School into a new college library and developing a multipurpose facility in the former library building."
Sister Denise A. Roche, president of the college, met in May with D'Youville students to air their concerns about the plan.
"The students had some justifiable concerns," she said, "the main one being the sharing of space on the campus at the same time. We addressed this and other concerns in negotiations with the Board of Education and worked out solutions that we believe accommodate everyone."
She added that "the arrangement will allow us to improve and expand our educational facilities and purchase state-of-the-art educational equipment, such as interactive computer systems," which will also "add technology for teaching and help stabilize tuition."
Sister Roche said another bonus for D'Youville will be that its students majoring in education, social work and other areas will have "convenient and ready-made teacher training opportunities" with the high school students on campus.
Patricia Preston, principal of da Vinci, said admission standards will remain high:
"Students will have to be in good academic standing, have teacher recommendations and a record of accomplishments. The curriculum is demanding, and we want students who have the desire to excel."