About Black Rock
Black Rock Middle School is set to open in September 2022 and will serve students in the fifth through eighth grades from the Penn Wynne and Gladwyne elementary school catchment areas. Lower Merion School District’s 11th school includes state-of-the-art features, such as flexible spaces called learning communities rather than traditional classrooms, to further the goals of the District’s Strategic Plan, All Forward, and to support problem-based learning and collaboration among both students and staff.
The school site at 1860 Montgomery Avenue in Villanova, Pa., was acquired by LMSD is 2018, after the Lower Merion Board of School Directors determined that constructing a new middle school and moving fifth grade from the elementary to middle level would be the best solution to challenges posed by rapid enrollment growth in the District. The District also acquired land at 1800 W. Montgomery Ave. and 1835 County Line Rd. for athletic fields to accommodate all of the school’s sports teams, since the topography of the school site does not allow room for all the fields to be located there.
The main building on the site prior to the school’s construction was a mansion that had been built as a family home for Morris Clothier, chairman of the Strawbridge and Clothier stores. Later, it became the site of Northeastern Christian Junior College, before most finally serving as the Foundation for Islamic Education.
The name Black Rock was chosen by a stakeholder group, including students, staff and School Board members, and refers to the formations of distinct black rocks found in the area. These rocks were used by the Indigenous Lenape for tools and other necessities. The school’s mascot -- The Royals – and colors – black and gold with a purple accent – were chosen by students who will be entering the school when it opens. The students said they chose The Royals because of the alignment with the existing middle school mascots (Welsh Valley Dragons and Bala Cynwyd Knights) and because the name reflects qualities including strength, being welcoming to all, being smart and being spectacular.