Gone are the crucifixes in every classroom and the carvings of the Virgin Mary from the airy, red-brick building that has been home to St. Mary’s School at the Newark Abbey since 2001.
The fixtures were relocated — along with St. Mary’s — to make way for a charter school, Robert Treat Academy, to open a second campus here this month. It is the first time that the Benedictine monks have allowed a nonreligious school to operate on the grounds of the monastery, whose Victorian-style towers span two city blocks in the Central Ward.
The arrangement generates $150,000 a year in rent for the Newark Abbey, which also operates a Roman Catholic high school for boys, St. Benedict’s Preparatory, and underpins a more ambitious plan to share not just space but also resources. Robert Treat is proposing that its students be allowed to use a swimming pool and field house on the grounds and have future access to St. Benedict’s Latin and advanced math teachers, and is envisioning sending more of its eighth-grade graduates to St. Benedict’s.