St. Patrick’s Academy was built in 1911 on Oak Street, Binghamton, NY which was adjacent to St. Patrick’s Church. It opened as a high school in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed its predecessor, St. Joseph’s. Initial construction on the academy cost $60,650; the school remained open until 1963, when students from St. Patrick’s Academy and St. Paul’s High School merged to become Catholic Central High School on Seminary Avenue, Binghamton, NY. St. Patrick’s Academy was demolished eleven years later, in 1974.
St. Patrick’s was the first Catholic High School built in the city of Binghamton. Students from fifth through twelfth grade were initially educated at the academy. The school had relatively high enrollment rates for the elementary school, as it was one of the only Catholic institutions in the area during its time. The final graduating class in 1963 had 50 students, while the first class had 12 graduates. The total number of students to be educated during the lifetime of the institution was around 5,000, with over 2,000 graduating, the rest attending the elementary school only.
The school was three stories, containing six rooms, not including an office on the first floor, eight classrooms on the second, and an auditorium/gymnasium on the third. The teaching staff at the academy was primarily made up of the Sisters of St. Joseph, consisting of about 25 nuns and sporadically one or two lay teachers.
St. Patrick’s was demolished in 1974, 11 years after closing its doors due to the rising costs of maintenance. The school was no longer being used for any purpose, after first being leased as a learning disability center for several years. With no tenants, the academy cost about nine thousand dollars a year to maintain, and the decision was made to demolish it.
St. Patrick’s namesake was the first permanent Catholic Church in the region, which was built in 1838. This was an extremely important step in the Binghamton area, as any services were done by traveling priests rather than a permanently established church. The land plot for the project was donated by influential members of other denominations. Initially, sermons and prayers were led by lay people looking for the opportunity to finally practice their faith with some regularity. Some nearby priests, such as the Reverend Walter from Utica, ninety miles away, would occasionally come to lead mass, as a way to build up the fledgling Catholic presence in the area.
Originally named St. John’s for the Apostle, it was rechristened St. Patrick’s in 1873. Becoming the first standing church in an area was a major mark of pride, it signaled the permanence of the town it was in, and St. Patrick’s was no exception. Having a church in the area helped to lay the groundwork for a more established city, and was a major part of the community growing. When it came to naming a Catholic School, St. Patrick’s was an obvious choice. The name was a fitting tribute and a link to the area’s past, one that should evoke pride in those who attended St. Patrick’s at any level.