Youngstown Catholic Diocese Bishop George Murry said he wishes the decision to keep or move Cardinal Mooney High School had gone smoother.
Last week, Murry rescinded his June 4 decision to keep the school in the city and renovate the existing building. He said the diocese never thought about how much it would cost to deal with the asbestos in the building.
“I wish it hadn’t gone this way,” Murry said. “I wish we didn’t have all these complications. But in looking into building with an aim toward renovating, we discovered one. The board discovered more than they had known before.”
Murry appointed a five-member commission to review information that went into the original decision to stay and what’s been discovered since.
The panel will make its recommendation by July 31.
On June 4, Murry decided to keep Cardinal Mooney in the city, overruling the school’s board of directors, which voted in favor of moving to the suburbs. The bishop made the decision despite an independent study that concluded the school would sustain better enrollment for a longer period if it moved.
If the committee determines it’s best for the school to stay in the city, and the bishop reaffirms his earlier decision, school officials will be asked to begin a capital campaign to raise money for the necessary renovations, Murry previously said.
If the committee recommends the school relocate the to the suburbs, and the bishop approves that recommendation, he then will ask the school to conduct a financial feasibility study to determine whether there are sufficient resources to build a new school, the diocese said.
Original cost estimates were $18 million to renovate the existing building and $25 million to build a new one in the suburbs, most likely in Boardman. But the price tag to renovate apparently has been driven up by the asbestos removal.
Cardinal Mooney has been located at Erie Street and Indianola Avenue on Youngstown’s South Side since 1956. Its employees pay roughly $80,000 a year in city income tax to Youngstown.