Laboure College is leaving Dorchester for Milton

Labouré College recently purchased this mansion, originally part of the Wigglesworth Estate, in Milton.
Labouré College recently purchased this mansion, originally part of the Wigglesworth Estate, in Milton. –Eric Ellis/Laboure College

Labouré College
is bidding farewell to Boston’s Dorchester Avenue and relocating to the greener pastures of Milton.

The private Catholic nursing school recently announced plans to create a campus on the former site of Aquinas College at 303 Adams St. in Milton, adjacent to Fontbonne Academy.

Labouré purchased 5 acres and the mansion that once housed the Aquinas Secretarial School from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston for $5.3 million. The college plans to renovate the 45,000-square-foot building and hopes to move in by next spring. It financed $6.5 million to buy the property and cover the cost of renovations.

Labouré College president Maureen Smith said students and faculty are excited about the move to the new campus, just 1.3 miles away from Labouré’s current location.

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“This year, Labouré College is celebrating one hundred and twenty years of health care education,’’ said Smith in an e-mail. “We are marking this incredible milestone with the purchase of a new campus which will give us the room we need to grow while insuring a strong future for Labouré.’’

The Adams Street mansion was built in the 1850s and expanded in 1961 and 1967. It was originally part of the Wigglesworth Estate, now home to Fontbonne Academy, a Catholic high school for girls, and Fontbonne Convent, where more than 25 Sisters of St. Joseph reside.

The sisters opened the Aquinas Secretarial School in 1956. It was later renamed Aquinas College and operated as a two-year college until it closed in 2000. Fontbonne Academy later used the mansion as a library and administrative offices.

Founded in 1892 as the Carney Hospital Training School for Nurses, Labouré College offers a bachelor of science degree in nursing, as well as associate degrees and certificate programs in a variety of health care fields. The college has no dorms and currently enrolls 700 students, most of whom attend part time.

It now occupies approximately 38,500 square feet of space adjacent to Carney Hospital in Dorchester, said Katelyn Dwyer, a spokeswoman for the college. Labouré’s facilities are “very close to street level on Dorchester Avenue, and most of our surrounding land is hospital parking,’’ she said.

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After Labouré leaves for Milton, the Dorchester location will be renovated and used as clinical space affiliated with Carney Hospital, according to Dwyer.

The new site in Milton is “a more collegiate-looking campus’’ that will offer additional space for classrooms and designated parking for students, said Dwyer.

“It’s great for us,’’ she said.

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