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Restore or relocate? Mooney looks at options

Published: Sun, August 12, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Denise Dick



Like the owner of an older home, Cardinal Mooney High School is faced with a choice: to upgrade or to build a new one someplace else.

Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Office of Catholic Schools, said a group of Mooney alumni approached him and Bishop George V. Murry about the possibility of building a new Mooney in the southern part of Mahoning County.

That’s where the population is moving, he said.

The Erie Street school on the city’s South Side was built in 1956 and needs updating.

It needs a new roof, windows and a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, the Rev. Gerald DeLucia, Mooney president, said.

“What we call the Mooney Family will have to decide to fix up the building or to build,” Father DeLucia said.

Estimated cost to upgrade is $18 million, which includes the addition of an arts center and a wellness center.

The cost of a new building runs between $24 million and $25 million. That price doesn’t include property that the school hopes will be donated.

But Father DeLucia said more than money will be considered in making the decision.

Catholic School Management Inc. of Madison, Conn., is conducting a feasibility study comparing the two options.

“They’ll interview about 60 individuals — a sampling or a cross-section of alumni and parents of students,” he said.

Company representatives will ask those individuals their views on moving versus upgrading. The students also will gauge the financial support for either option.

Bishop Murry ultimately will make the decision.

The school’s president said a move isn’t being considered because of a crime problem. That hasn’t been an issue, he said.

If the school moves, though, Father DeLucia says it will maintain its commitment to the city and serving those residents who want to send their children to Mooney. Any site would have to be easily accessible, he said.

“We have a lot of young people from the city,” he said. “We can’t abandon the city of Youngstown. We’re part of Youngstown life, and Youngstown is part of our life. We’re not in any way considering abandoning the present population.”

About a third of the school’s 580 students live in the city, with the majority coming from the suburbs including some from Columbiana County, the priest said.

“We value the diversity we have here,” he said. “The kids like the diversity — students from the city and the suburbs, of different races and religions.”


1southsidedave(4780 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Will not be an easy decision in this economic downturn...

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2chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The safety of the current students must be a concern. Also, who will be funding the additional transportation charges? Will the WRTA bus the kids?

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3kensgirl(608 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

They already had to build a fence around the parking lot. I would say move. Maybe BEING there is one thing but traveling to that area is another thing entirely. That neighborhood has been named the most dangerous corridor between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. There's lots of open land to the south. With a huge alumni association it wouldn't be that hard to obtain the funds. It hurts to say move since I am a proud Mooney alumni but common sense says get the heck out of there before some innocent person gets shot.

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4cycler(33 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

move and while their at it; increase the tuition to hire great teachers focusing on strong academic excellence.

So Many parents in this region are desperate for a strong academic school and are willing to pay for it. Maybe not many of the old Alumni but that was then and this is now, science, math and scholarship are the new football.
Make it a school worth going to for something more than a football jacket.

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5av667(18 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Has anyone considered with the declining population of Youngstown and the suburbs, combining Ursuline and Mooney? In the late 60's and early 70's, enrollment at each school exceeded 2000 students. Now, combined it is just barely over 1000..
Ursuline has the space, freeway access, room to expand, closeness to the University, and with the two schools combining cause economies of scale to further enhance the quality of education and increase sports ability. Call it Youngstown Central Catholic. The let's keep them separate mentality should give way to economics and scale back or eliminate the building non educational units such as a wellness center and arts section. The diocese and their educational systemwill be going down down the same path that universities are going. If you can combine grade and middle schools, why not high schools. Please see attached link referring to university overbuilding. http://www.economist.com/node/21559936.

Please remember its Catholic not Casholic.

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6PhilKidd(186 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Right on, av667. Right. On.

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7PhilKidd(186 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

I thought this area was built on hard work, working within the means of what you have, fighting for something better and a establishing a continuing sense of community. I suppose that's just a romantic notion that doesn't actually apply to community building.

So, run, run away residents, business, Cardinal Mooney, etc...but the void you leave behind will be part of your legacy all the same. And we will continue to get the community we deserve. And when that happens, don't you dare ask why and don't you dare point a finger other than into your own chest. Because such decisions are (and always have been) as much a part of the systemic problem as any symptomatic issues we deal with now as a result.

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8FormerWestsider(23 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The Chaney building will be available in a couple of years.

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9sue(171 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

If Mooney relocates its enrollment would probably increase. I know several families who considered Mooney, but refused to drive through a war zone.

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10UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Mooney is located adjacent to a rail line, across from industrial property and right in the middle of the savages of Youngstown. Around the corner from its grounds, cold recent murders have taken place at St. Dom's and in front of the County annex. Many working class families are not sending their children thru this war zone.
Even if I am not privy to the decisions of the school, from outside looking in, Mooney will move to the suburbs or beyond. This is why Catholic schools are the best in the world, for centuries they always know when to be fluid. Youngstown will never climb out of the S%&$@ hole it is in until all the dependent class wither away or destroy themselves completely.

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11kensgirl(608 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

cycler - FYI, each year Mooney hands out MILLIONS of dollars in scholarships to it's graduating seniors more than any other school in the area. Obviously something is being done right between the students and the teachers. To ENDTHISMESS - you are so right. I've always said that the Catholic church with all it's money, not only here but in Rome (billions of dollars in precious gems, paintings etc) should donate to the problems faced here. Why are they sitting on so much when people are starving and homeless. Where is the vow of poverty? Bishop Malone lived in a nice house in Boardman!!! What the heck? No wonder so many Catholics are deserting ship. I was born Catholic and will die Catholic but I won't sweep problems under the rug when people are hurting. I hope Mooney moves out of the ghetto and into a nicer neighborhood where it's enrollment will increase. FOR MOONEY, AGAINST NO ONE!!!

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12mahoningjustice(3 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Are You kidding Build a new school!! Take it out to 224 area that is where all the money is at a tuition of over $5000 per yr find an old vacant lot. the trash from Youngstown will soon follow & devalue the property

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13GoPens(397 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Of course Mooney values the diversity it has. It's great for football!

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14AnotherAverageCitizen(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

""cycler - FYI, each year Mooney hands out MILLIONS of dollars in scholarships to it's graduating seniors more than any other school in the area.""

First of all, colleges hand out scholarships, not Mooney. When a student could recieve a scholarship from 3 different schools, Mooney adds all three together and say that is all scholarship money. its just bad math and misleading.

And when you take star players from several different schools, sure the teams look good.

Cardinal Mooney is a good school and parents, students, and faculity should be proud. But they should be honest also. ( Oh we don't recruit )

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