Hundreds of Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School students and city officials gathered outside the Sandy Springs school on Friday, Aug. 21, for the blessing and formal opening of its new $18.2 million renovation, which includes a new 64,000-squre-foot math, science and commons hall.

“The days of driving along Mount Vernon Highway here and not seeing us are gone,” Head of School Paul Barton said during a brief ceremony. “We have an amazing new building here.”

Hundreds of students and supporters watch the formal opening and blessing of the new Holy Innocents Episcopal School math, science and commons building.

The new glass-and-stone-walled, three-story building, which is visible from Mount Vernon,  includes math classrooms, science labs, a television production studio for classes in broadcasting, a robotics lab and a 500-seat cafeteria.

Margaret Reynolds, a 7-year-old second-grader, said she appreciated the new building, in part because it offered something new at each table during lunch. “I think it’s really good,” she said, “because we have our own salt and pepper.”

She and fellow second-grader Mac Flinn, 7, helped with the blessing of the Episcopal school building by Holy Innocents Innocents’ Episcopal Church Rector the Rev. Micheal Sullivan. The two students, using laurel branches cut on campus, sprinkled blessed water on the building’s threshold as Sullivan prayed.

HIES Head of School Paul Barton spoke of HIES’ growth during the formal opening of its new math, science and commons building on Aug. 21.
Second-graders Margaret Reynolds and Mac Flinn sprinkle water on the threshold of HIES’ new math, science and commons building as part of the formal opening of the $14 million building on Aug. 21.

Barton said HIES is now the largest Episcopal Parish School in the country. The school takes in about 1,375 students, school officials said.

Bruce Ford, chairman of the HIES board, said the school started planning the building in 2007. The new building gives Holy Innocents’ “two anchors on our property — the church on the west end and the upper school building on the east end,” he said.

The new building enhances the education offered at the school, he said. “It’s a building to be proud of,” he said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.