The meaning behind the North Building


Alice Petty

Built in 1956, the North Building is the oldest part of BSM.

The north building is one of the oldest aspects of today’s Benilde-St. Margaret’s building. When it was first built in 1956, the north building’s purpose was to house the Christian Brothers and hold various classes.

The Christian Brothers worked as both the teachers and the school’s principals. The classes that they taught consisted of religion, art, and history. There was no connecting hallway, so it was open between the school and the north building. “You can imagine getting to and from the north building on a cold day was chilling, to say the least,” Director of Alumni and Community Events Mary Fran O’Keefe said. 

There were 12 Christian brothers living in the north building at one time. The many offices that fill up the north building today once served different purposes for the Christian Brothers. What is now the copy room was the communal shower and the conference room was their living room. There was a chapel in the north building and it was located on the left upon entering. 

In the early ’70s, the Christian Brothers were planning on closing Benilde High School due to the lack of enrollment. But, once Benilde High School and St. Margaret’s merged, the Benedictines from St. Johns moved in. There were about six of them and they were all priests. They made a few renovations; however, they did move the chapel to a different room. The Benedictines stayed there until the late ’80s. “I remember going to the north building chapel for a small group mass,” O’Keefe said. 

The late ’80s is when the dorms began to be converted into the offices and classrooms that we are familiar with today. The individual rooms were turned into offices. This was done by adding carpet to each room and removing the beds that were there. Some rooms still contain items that remain from when the priests resided in the north building. Next time you are in the north building look for the hidden relics of the brothers. The school also made the addition of adding a band room. “My office used to be one of my brother’s bedrooms. They took the sink out and left the closet and mirror,” Director of Alumni Relations and Parent Stewardship Ms. Rachel Olson said.

My office used to be one of the brother’s bedrooms. They took the sink out and left the closet and mirror.

— Ms. Rachel Olson

Although there are rumors of a hidden pool and secret rooms, the north building is now simply classrooms for the Junior High as well as the Senior High. The north building is home to a wide variety of classes such as history, science, health, Latin, Spanish, French, band, and orchestra. 

The north building has been and always will be a staple of BSM’s history. Whether it’s the cause of a tardy or a reminder of the school’s rich religious history, the north building will forever be a part of BSM.