In 1967, parents on the Eastern Shore founded St. James Day School, housed in Fairhope’s Episcopal Church. Three years later, when the St. James community wished to expand the school above the first grade level, the Daphne property of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart became available, and a county-wide drive to establish Bayside Academy was formed. The school opened in September 1970, with classes from kindergarten through eighth grade. David M. Smith was headmaster, and John A. Robertson was chairman of the Board of Directors.
Grade levels were added each year after 1970, and in 1975, Bayside held its first graduation with 15 members in the class of 1975: Matthew Richmond Arnott, II; Patricia (Bryan) Sirmon; Rodney Scott Farris; Robert Alan Furlow; Sharon Louise (Hadding) Haggard; Patricia Lee (Higbee) Hawthorne; Keith Michael McElligott; Jeffrey Carter Pierce; Michael Kenneth Pohsl; John Anderson Robertson, Jr.; Joel John Sirmon; George McFadden Stuart, Jr.; Whit Nelson Stuckey, III; Tony Ellis Waites; and Terri Lea (Ward) Howell.
Bayside’s growth in enrollment is mirrored by its campus additions. The Louise Robinson Moorer gymnasium opened in 1977, housing a gym and bleachers, a stage, restrooms, locker rooms, and storage.
The 90’s was a decade of physical growth for Bayside. The Hodgson Early Childhood Center opened in 1992; its 6 classrooms, central hall, offices, and work space provided a home for our youngest Admirals.
In 1994, the McLean Science Building was constructed. The facility includes 4 fully equipped science labs, numerous individual lab spaces, additional classroom space, a technology center, and a maintenance facility. The Student Activity Center was added shortly thereafter, providing a second gym, food service areas, and space for student gatherings.
Charting the Course, a multimillion dollar capital campaign, was launched in the late 90s and led to the construction of the Thomas F. Johnson Family Library, a three-story classroom building for Upper School students, and the establishment of an off-campus sports facility. In 2000, the school purchased 22.25 acres on Highway 64 from the Defilippi family and added the Bayside Academy Sports Complex. Located on Highway 64, the complex includes baseball, softball, and soccer fields and bleachers; a concession stand; and support areas. Charting the Course also provided for updates and enhancements to other campus areas and established Bayside’s initial endowment.
A second capital campaign, Anchor the Future, was launched in 2006. This campaign raised funds to build The Pilot Center (a 401-seat state of the arts theatre, art gallery, and reception center) and the Learning Center (a two-story instructional center for Intermediate School students) and to renovate space for Grades 1–2. It also provided for a football/soccer stadium, an updated track, and a field house as well as enhancements around campus.
Bayside Academy celebrates its 50th anniversary!