Chamberlain Hunt Academy to close

Published 11:11 am Tuesday, July 29, 2014

For the first time in more than 130 years, Chamberlain Hunt Academy’s doors will not open.

Administrators with the Port Gibson-based boarding school, established in its modern form in 1879, announced Monday to faculty members the school would be closing.

Declining enrollment was cited as the primary factor for the school’s closing.

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“We can not practically operate on such a small (student) base and ensure faculty and parents of being able to finish the school year,” the letter said.

The announcement comes less than two years after the school’s former president, Col. Jack West, announced it would be changing its name and departing from the traditional military-based curriculum.

Current school president Jim Montgomery confirmed the school’s closing Monday, but declined to comment further pending the issuance of an official statement.

Those changes, which lessened the role of military and ROTC training held at the school, were expected to help increase enrollment.

“These changes have not created enough positive change to overcome the challenge of being able to recruit a sufficient number of paying students to allow CHA to be financially viable,” the letter said.

Less than a decade ago, the student body of the all-boys upper school was nearly 100. During the 2013-14 school year, the enrollment was less than 30.

Tuition for boarding students was about $25,000 annually, but varied based on merit scholarships, financial assistance and work programs.

The school was founded to fill the gap left by the closing of Oakland College in Rodney during the Civil War.

In 1996, the school was brought under the authority of French Camp Academy.