School changes hands: Olivet Academy buys Kildonan
AMENIA — Olivet Academy, the kindergarten through 10th grade private school formerly housed on Olivet University’s Wingdale campus, has moved to Amenia. The academy just bought the former Kildonan school campus, located at 425 Morse Hill Road, well past the North East (Webutuck) Central School District campus on Haight Road.
Kildonan was a private boarding and day school using the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching primarily dyslexic students. Kildonan, which taught grades two through 12 as well as post graduates, was started by education pioneer Diana Hanbury King in 1969 and closed this year due to declining enrollment. Kildonan parents had hoped to resurrect the school with a last-ditch effort to increase enrollment after news leaked out of its impending closure, but failed to do so. The sale of the school now puts an end to any lingering hopes of reviving the much loved educational institution.
Olivet Academy touts itself for using “the best practices of parochial, progressive and preparatory education,” according to its website, www.olivetacademy.org. It’s a part of Olivet University, an evangelical Christian university based out of San Francisco, Calif. The university bought the site of the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center in Wingdale in 2013. It subsequently purchased an additional 23 properties in the town of Dover, which includes the hamlet of Wingdale. Its campus now stretches across 1,000 acres.
The Kildonan campus, according to Olivet Academy Director of Communications Gerald Helguero, adds another 120 acres to Olivet’s assets.
“The school where we were didn’t have enough room,” said Helguero, noting the academy was previously integrated into Olivet University’s Wingdale campus. “We needed more room, and thankfully the opportunity came from not too far away from where we were. It’s only about 25 minutes from Wingdale. It was a good chance, a good opportunity.”
Olivet bought Kildonan in the middle of October, and has already moved the academy’s classes to Amenia. Like most schools in the area, Olivet Academy’s school year runs from September through June.
While Helguero said he “prefers not to get into the purchase price,” he said the buy was well timed.
“The space is well suited for what we need right now,” he said. “I think we’re thankful and excited to have moved on to the campus and we hope to be good neighbors here in Amenia, and North East as well.”
Most of the roughly 110 students enrolled in Olivet Academy live in the town of Dover, according to Helguero.