By Denise Dick
A study on the feasibility of moving Cardinal Mooney High School to southern Mahoning County determined that most of those interviewed support the prospect.
“There’s a lot of interest in building a new school” in the county’s southern tier, said the Rev. Gerald DeLucia, Mooney president.
Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown hired Catholic School Management Inc. of Madison, Conn., to conduct a feasibility study of moving the school versus renovating and updating the existing structure on the city’s South Side.
A group of alumni had approached the diocese about moving the school to where the county’s population is moving.
Father DeLucia said that of the 60 alumni and parents of current students interviewed, between 70 percent and 80 percent supported the move.
The next phase of the study will determine if the demographic shift and enrollment projections would support the move.
“It needs to be shown to everyone that if [the Catholic] population is out there, if we relocated to that area, would people send their children to that school,” Father DeLucia said.
Although an exact location hasn’t been determined, supporters of the move have talked about a location between Poland and Canfield that’s close enough to the Columbiana County line to attract students from that area as well.
If the school does move, the boundaries determining whether a student enrolls at Mooney or Ursuline High School would remain.
Those who live north of the Mahoning River attend Ursuline while those south of the river go to Mooney. Students may request to attend the other school with a letter to the superintendent of the diocese.
Once the second phase is complete, Mooney’s board of directors will make a recommendation to Bishop George V. Murry, who will make the decision. Also part of the equation is the cost of building a school, estimated at between $24 million and $25 million. Estimated cost to upgrade the existing school is $18 million.
Mayor Charles Sammarone sent a letter to Bishop Murry last week urging that the school stay put.
“The possibility of seeing Cardinal Mooney High School leave the Youngstown community would be devastating,” Sammarone said in the letter.
Throughout the school’s 56-year history in the city, it has contributed to Youngstown’s betterment as a whole, he wrote.
“Indeed, it has been an anchor in the good times and bad,” the mayor said. “I would hope that you and the Office of Catholic Schools would remember that the city of Youngstown is vital to the heart and tradition of Mooney High School.”
Father DeLucia said the board of directors also will consider whether the move will allow the school to continue to serve city residents.
“It’s kind of a balancing act,” the president said, referring to serving both the population in the southern part of the county while continuing to meet the needs of those in the city.