September 14, 2018

Roman Catholic High School Celebrates Grand Opening of the Howard Center for the Arts

New arts center is Phase I of a four phase, $25M transformational expansion project

Roman Catholic High School will celebrate the ribbon cutting of The Howard Center for the Arts.  The 40,000 square foot center is named after Barry & Elayne Howard, longtime supporters of the students of Roman.   Barry has also served as a dedicated member of Roman’s Board of Directors since its inception over 25 years ago.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
1:30 p.m.
Roman Catholic High School
The Howard Center for the Arts
301 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

The Howard Center for the Arts is the realization of Phase I of Roman Catholic High School’s Vision of Promise plan – a four-phased, $25 million, transformational initiative which will provide an innovative, 21st Century education for Roman’s students.  Subsequent phases of the Vision of Promise plan will include:

Phase II:  A science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building with modern lab facilities;

Phase III:  A new field house and track to accommodate the school’s successful athletic programs;

Phase IV:  The repurposing of the current gymnasium to include an auditorium and chapel.  Additionally, updated space will be provided for a College Careers and Counseling Center, Academic Affairs, Admissions and Student Affairs offices.

The new, 21st Century campus is anchored around the original historic school building, which has been in continuous use since 1890.  Located just off the Avenue of the Arts, North, The Howard Center provides space for Roman’s Fine and Performing Arts programs.  The Center hosts rehearsal space for music and choral students, along with private, individual lesson rooms.  Included in the Center are dedicated choral and ceramic studios, along with classroom space for drama and mixed media.  Space is also allotted for a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) lab and a Digital Photography and Videography classroom.  The music program benefits from the addition of a piano lab along with appropriate storage space for instruments, music, and offices for instructors. The addition of clay kiln ovens and virtual imaging software provides the art program with new opportunities of expression in different mediums.  To provide students with the latest supports for developing their artistic abilities, advanced technologies are integrated throughout the building.

“I am proud of Roman’s commitment to the Arts at a time when many other schools are eliminating or curtailing art, music and drama classes,” said Father Joseph Bongard, President and Rector of Roman Catholic High School. “These programs foster creativity that students will need to adapt to an ever-changing world and excel in college and beyond.”

A major component of the design of this new space is the creation of a small Black Box Theater. All of the performing arts, music, choral, and drama programs now practice, perform, and exhibit their artistic works in this intimate setting. This is available to local Philadelphia arts groups for small dramatic and musical productions.

The new building has created available space for Roman to start several additional construction projects.  The former art studio is being converted into a brand new Exercise and Wellness Center.  A new Mock Trial Courtroom is also being constructed to help our internationally ranked Mock Trial team refine their auditory skills. 

Founded by Thomas E. Cahill in 1890 as the first Diocesan Catholic School in the nation, Roman Catholic has a long history of academic excellence and innovation in Philadelphia. As demand for high quality education options in the city continues to swell, admission to Roman Catholic High School has become increasingly competitive. With a near-100 percent college acceptance rate, Roman draws a diverse and dedicated student body from across the Greater Philadelphia region, New Jersey and Delaware. Enriched by its cultural, racial, and religious diversity, Roman provides a community where each young man can learn to appreciate and respect the uniqueness of others, while becoming a man of personal integrity. Roman Catholic High School strives to bring the Gospel values of Jesus Christ to its students, while forming a Catholic community which embodies the Christian spirit of service to all.

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Editor’s Notes:  For more information about Roman Catholic High School please visit  For information about Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit  For information about Faith in the Future please visit


Bonnie Olinger
Communications Specialist
215-587-3747 (office)