By JOE GORMAN
Cardinal Mooney High School is staying put in Youngstown, but expect changes to take place.
Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown announced Tuesday that he has decided against a proposal to move the school from its location on the South Side to the suburbs.
However, Bishop Murry said, the building will be renovated, academic programs will be upgraded and the school will continue to look out for the safety of its students.
There was no timetable given as to when the renovations will begin or what might take place.
The bishop’s announcement comes after the diocese hired a consulting firm from Madison, Conn., to help it decide if the school should move after a group of alumni had asked the diocese to consider moving the school to Mahoning County’s southern suburbs where the population is moving.
Bishop Murry said in a statement he decided having the school stay put would be the best way to live out its mission of providing a quality Catholic education and service to the surrounding community.
Youngstown was hoping the school would stay put, and Bishop Murry said he met with Mayor Charles Sammarone and Police Chief Rod Foley to talk about ways to improve safety in the area.
Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, said she is pleased with the bishop’s decision.
Mooney is in the 6th Ward.
“I’m excited and I’m thrilled he decided to do that,” Tarpley said.
Bishop Murry said another factor in his decision was that it would be cheaper to make renovations than to build a new building. In addition, he said in his statement, it is important for the diocese to be good stewards of their finances.
Tarpley said she thinks the school is key to helping to revitalize that part of the ward. Having another empty building would not be good, she said.
“That will help stabilize the neighborhood,” Tarpley added.
Demaine Kitchen, Sammarone’s chief of staff, said he is grateful to the bishop for his decision.
“[Mooney’s] proud tradition and rich history will continue in the city,” Kitchen said.
He said the city stresses keeping its core institutions in Youngstown and that Bishop Murry’s decision is a win-win for both parties.
“It can only be a positive for the city and for Mooney,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen said the administration stands ready to work with Mooney should the school or diocese need any assistance.
Dr. Nicholas Wolsonovich, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, said it is good the decision has now been made so plans can be put into effect for the future of the school at its present location.
“We have a solid direction and we can now move forward,” Wolsonovich said.
The school has been at its current site on Erie Street since 1956.