Oldfields School to close at end of academic year; considers partnership with Garrison Forest

The school is closing and will sell its 100-acre campus.

Oldfields School to close at end of academic year; considers partnership with Garrison Forest

Oldfields School in Baltimore County will close after 156 years.

The day and board school announced late on Wednesday that it had signed a letter to form a partnership with Garrison Forest School in Baltimore County, an all-girls school. This partnership will allow Oldfields' students to find a new school easily, and also bring in new students for Garrison Forest School, which is a private all-girls school located in Baltimore County.

Oldfields announced the closure to give staff and students time to prepare. Discussions are ongoing between the two schools. According to a press release, the campus, which is described on the school website as "140 acres of scenic land in the heart Maryland's Horse Country", will be sold once the school closes.

In a press release, Nancy Palmer, the interim head of Oldfields School said that there are many similarities. These include 'incredible reputations' and "legacies" of educating thousands young women. They also have robust day and board programs, international reach, well-respected equestrian programmes, a strong sense of community and more.

'By partnering up with Garrison Forest School the Board of Trustees, myself, and Garrison Forest School feel that there is a strong alignment of values, program, and commitment to educating women of substance and impact. Garrison Forest School and Oldfields School are working together to preserve this legacy, which is so dear to many generations of Oldfields School graduates. We also want to ensure continuity for future generations."

According to the press release, the partnership will streamline the admissions process for Oldfields to Garrison students and allow them to pay the Oldfields tuition rates. Oldfields offers students grades 8-12 a tuition of $35,700 per day student and $64,150 per domestic boarder. Garrison is a school that serves students from kindergarten to grade 12 and operates a coed preschool. The tuition is listed as $37.685 per day for students in upper school and $67.765 per student boarding. According to Baltimore Business Journal, Oldfields had 100 students as of the fall of last year, while Garrison was home to about 500.

Oldfields didn't give a reason for the closing, but stated in its press release that "recent challenges and trends, such as the pandemic in recent years, have created unique financial challenges for many independent school in the region mirroring a national trend." This trend also includes the Institute of Notre Dame in East Baltimore, a 173 year-old Catholic school that closed in 2020 despite protests from students and alumni.

Oldfields, founded in 1867, is billed as the first girls boarding school to be established in Maryland. According to the school's website, 75% of its students are still boarding students.