YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Diocese of Youngstown announced Tuesday that all plans have been put aside to move Cardinal Mooney High School out of the city.
Bishop George Murry said during a press conference that fundraising efforts for the multimillion dollar move, which included the construction of a new school building, fell short.
Fundraising efforts generated nearly $14 million. A new school building would have cost $34.5 million.
“The economy is an issue. The board had a number of receptions with alumni and they were very generous but not enough for the interim goal of $23 million,” said Murry.
And the idea of a new school was not supported by everyone.
“There were some people who were very much in favor of moving the school and made that clear. There were others who were strongly opposed to moving the school. I would say the majority were in the middle,” Murry said.
Murry said the next move is to explore upgrades and construction projects at the school located at the corner of Erie Street and Indianola Avenue. The Board of Directors will be looking at all options, including purchasing an existing building and renovating it.
Some of the money pledged may be able to be used toward whatever improvements the school decides to make, but donors would have to be contacted to make sure that is OK with them.
“The students seem to exhibit no particular disappointment. They were not overly enthusiastic one way or another, which says to me that we are doing our job. They are happy to be Mooney students,” said Cardinal Mooney President Fr. Gerald DeLucia.
While some members of the greater Youngstown community have recommended merging the two existing high schools in the city, Bishop Murry said that such conversations, while sincere, were premature.
“Now that it is clear that it will not be possible to build a new school, Mooney will need to revise their strategic plan to respond to their present needs and the anticipated needs of the future,” said Murry.
A study commissioned by Cardinal Mooney last year concluded the high school would see more growth if it moved from Youngstown to southern Mahoning County suburbs.
Murry said current enrollment at the school stands at 500. He expects that number to increase. A marketing campaign touting the benefits of a Catholic education have been successful and will continue.
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.