Wheels in motion to move Cardinal Mooney to suburbs - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Wheels in motion to move Cardinal Mooney to suburbs

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Bishop of the Youngstown Catholic Diocese, George Murry announced that he would agree to move Cardinal Mooney High School from its current location in Youngstown, but only under certain conditions.

In a news release issued by the diocese on Tuesday, the Bishop said he would support the move if the results of a financial feasibility study indicate that there is sufficient financial support for a new school building, as well as support for an endowment fund for scholarships for financially needy students.

Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, says the new school is estimated to cost about $25 million. The price does not include the purchasing of land.

He adds, the Bishop would like the endowment fund to be between $4-5 million. Currently, the school has about $1.5 million already in a scholarship fund.

He assures the money will not come from student tuition and will be raised entirely by donors.

"If we don't get the money, we can't build," said Wolsonovich. "That's as plain as can be."

The release described the new location of Mooney as a "suitable location" in the southern tier of Mahoning county. Back in April it was reported that the school was considering a location in the Boardman area, but no final decision had been made.

According to the release, the decision to move is based on the recommendation of the five-member committee which the Bishop established to review all of the information concerning Cardinal Mooney.

Tuesday's decision is a reversal the Bishop's edict of June 4, where he said it would better serve the school's mission to serve the community by remaining on the city's south side, rather than a suburban location.

But in July, Bishop Murry announced that he was reconsidering the position to stay in Youngstown after learning new information about possibly prohibitive costs of asbestos remediation at the existing school building on Erie Street.

21 News spoke with parents who had mixed reactions.

"I think its a great idea to move it to the suburbs," said Michelle Thomas. "It would be a safer location."

"I don't believe that ( it would be a safer location) because look how many shootings are in the other areas," said David Britton. "It doesn't matter where you're at if somebody is really determined to do that its going to happen regardless."

The diocese says they're confident they can still  educate children of all economic backgrounds at a new location.

In addition, the statement says that the Bishop also consulted with the executive committees of both Ursuline High School and the Cardinal Mooney High School Board of Directors about the possibility of a merger of the two schools.

Both executive committees did not think that a merger was a viable option. The five-member committee also did not support a merger of the two schools.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, who argued for Cardinal Mooney to stay in the area because it would help stabilize the community, said that she was disappointed in the decision and would not comment further. 

Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone said he is also disappointed to see the school reconsidering a move.

"I'm not happy," said the mayor. "I'd rather have them stay in the city not only because it's a school but it's a business that pays income taxes."

Sammarone also questioned what would happen to the current building on Erie St. if the school did relocate. Sammarone has spent much of his time as mayor trying to get rid of vacant structures in the city and does not want another abandoned building.

Wolsonovich said there are parties interested in purchasing the building, although he would not identify them.

Dr. Wolsonovich stated that Father Gerald DeLucia, president of Cardinal Mooney High School, and its Board of Directors will begin moving forward to carry out the Bishop's directives.

The process will begin by seeking pledges from alumni and supporters of the Catholic Schools.

The President and Board will develop an overall plan for the new building, including a funding plan and an endowment fund.

At this time, there is no time frame as to when they hope to make a final decision.

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