History of St. Augustin School
Five Sisters of the St. Dominic Convent traveled by train from Adrian, MI, to Des Moines, Iowa, in the summer of 1924. Father John T. Noonan, then pastor of St. Augustin Parish, asked them to build a school. A large home at 4320 Grand served as the convent for the five Sisters of the Adrian Dominican congregation. The Sisters used the Greenwood Ballroom across from the Des Moines Art Center as a school while St. Augustin School was under construction.
St. Augustin School was completed in 1926, and then included only seven classrooms. In 1933, Father Francis O’Connell added the gymnasium and two additional classrooms, and in 1948, Msgr. Gerald Walker added four additional classrooms and a cafeteria. In 1961 Msgr. Walker built a new freestanding building behind the original school to accommodate growing enrollment.
By the late 1960s enrollment began to decline and there were fewer Adrian Dominican Sisters to staff the school. Catholic teachers replaced the Sisters, and by the late 1970s, lay teachers made up a majority of the faculty. Sister Barbara was the last Adrian Dominican to serve St. Augustin School in 1976, and the convent on Grand Ave. was razed in 1983.
The early 1990s brought a substantial increase in enrollment to the school. Under Msgr. Frank Bognanno, a new school was built in 1997 and the original building razed. A new chapel was built in spring 2013.
St. Augustin School continues to provide meaningful educational experiences for students in an environment integrated by Gospel values that nurture faith, community, prayer and service.