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St. Margaret's Students Kick off Year with New Arts Center

With a blessing from a bishop and the sounds of a bagpipe, a new era began Wednesday.

Filmgoers may have gotten a at ’s new Performing Arts Center during the this month, but the official grand opening was Wednesday, the first day of the new school year.

Before the ribbon-cutting, Headmaster Marcus Hurlbut welcomed the 1,241 students back to school, the largest enrollment in the schools 33-year history.

“Yes, [summer’s] over. Sorry about that,” he said. “While we were away … there was a lot of work done.”

Hurlbut rattled off a number of facelifts, but the most obvious accomplishment was the completion of the Performing Arts Center.

To the tune of a bagpipe, the students marched from the Field House to the courtyard in front of the center.

‘It’s been a long time coming,” Hurlbut said. The arts “at long last have a home at St. Margaret’s.”

But despite the building’s many facets – separate practice rooms for the band, orchestra, choir, dance and a black box theater as well as the 450-seat main theater, President of the Board of Trustees Michael J. Berchtold said its presence doesn’t turn the school into “St. Margaret’s School of the Arts.”

“Our mission remains the same,” Berchtold said. “… to pursue greatness across the board, in the classroom, arts, the playing field and in our community through service.”

Berchtold also announced the name of the main theater. The school’s “largest philanthropist” Stacey Nicholas had the naming rights and could have chosen anything. Her choice?

The Marcus D. Hurlbut Theater. Hurlbut will be retiring at the end of this school year after 30 years as a headmaster, 10 at St. Margaret’s.

“Oh, I don’t know. OK,” Hurlbut said in response, visibly choked up. “Words don’t describe it. It means the world to me.”

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