A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST. ANDREW’S SCHOOL
By Mary Alice Brown
St. Andrew’s traces its beginning to 1947 when Independent Presbyterian Church opened a kindergarten for four and five year olds. A governing board for the school was created, which met for the first time on June 25, 1951. The school was housed in the church annex in downtown Savannah. Over the years other grades were added and in 1978 the first and only class graduated from Independent Presbyterian Day School. St. Andrew’s considers the ten members of this class to be its first alumni.
Earlier, in 1974, the church’s governing body had determined that the city was in need of another quality college preparatory school. Business leaders and parents worked together to secure a site for a new campus and to raise money for the buildings. It was decided that the school should be named St. Andrew’s on the Marsh to reflect a Scottish heritage and the island setting. The church agreed to relinquish the school so that it could become an independent, nonprofit institution governed by a board of trustees.
From its inception, St. Andrew’s has been a family oriented institution. In November of 1978, when the time came to move from the downtown location to Bell Hall and Compton Center on the new campus, students, faculty, parents and administrators did the actual moving. Everyone worked together to empty the old school and move into the new school. Parents provided fried chicken, fruit, cakes, and iced tea at lunch for all the hungry workers.
During the fall the boys of the school laid the gym floor. They completed it in time for the first basketball game which was played on January 4, 1979. School was two weeks late opening the fall of 1979 because Hurricane David had blown trees over onto the buildings and there was no electricity.
In the early 1980’s, the athletic field was created and the first computer lab was established with computers donated by the PTO. By 1986, the third building on campus, Skinner Hall, was opened following a successful capital campaign.
In the 1990’s the preschool program was introduced, with renovations in Bell Hall to accommodate those age groups. Shortly thereafter, the athletic complex was expanded. The size of the athletic fields was doubled and the fields were lighted.
In 2002 the school purchased the adjoining property on the north side of Betz Creek, which had been the Islands YMCA. Following year-long renovations to the exterior and front half of the building, it opened as our Early Childhood Center in January of 2003. An office complex, as well as the second gymnasium, added to our growing facilities.
Additional renovations to the building in the spring and summer of 2005 allowed the expansion of the Johnson Early Childhood Center, which opened for grades 1, 2, and 3 that fall. A new lower school library was also a part of that renovation.
Despite expanding facilities, programs, and technology, the fundamental principles of the school have remained unchanged: a personalized approach to education, a commitment to providing multiple opportunities for students, maintaining a strong sense of community, and insisting on the highest standards in all that we do.