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Asbestos costs revive talks on moving Mooney

Published: Thu, June 27, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.





By Denise Dick



Bishop George V. Murry’s decision to keep Cardinal Mooney High School in the city isn’t a done deal.

A Wednesday statement from the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown says that new information about the cost of asbestos remediation to the school building has prompted the bishop to review his June 4 decision to keep Mooney on Erie Street.

Bishop Murry has appointed a committee to review information regarding the school renovation. The committee includes a parent, a pastor and people with expertise in Catholic school mission, education, finance and building construction.

Nicholas Wolsonovich, superintendent of schools for the diocese, said that all buildings constructed in the 1950s contain asbestos and by federal law, steps must be taken to address it.

The school has abided by those laws.

“When you’re looking at removing it and tearing apart the building, that’s when the costs increased,” he said.

Information about the asbestos was given to the bishop by Mooney’s board of directors.

The committee is expected to report to Bishop Murry by July 31. “If the recommendation from the committee is not to move, and the bishop reaffirms his earlier decision, the president and board will be asked to begin a capital campaign to raise money for the necessary renovations,” the diocese statement says.

If the committee’s recommendation is to relocate the school to the suburbs and it’s approved by the bishop, the bishop will ask the school president and board of directors to “conduct a feasibility study to determine whether or not there are sufficient resources to building a new school, in accord with Diocesan financial policy,” the statement says.

The whole process is expected to be completed in about two months.

Wolsonovich said the 2013-14 school year will begin as scheduled in the existing location.

Several months ago, the estimated cost of building a new school in southern Mahoning County was $25 million. The cost to renovate at the city location was $18 million. Wolsonovich said that part of the committee’s charge is to determine the cost estimate for a renovation that includes the asbestos remediation.

City Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, doesn’t want the school to leave the city.

“The city has stated we’ll do whatever we can to help,” she said. “We have in the past removed asbestos from houses that are being demolished and there are also some grants from the state of Ohio.”

Tarpley isn’t sure if the school would qualify for any of those public programs considering its religious affiliation, but said it could be referred to the city’s economic development department to determine if anything can be done.

Wolsonovich said that since the bishop’s decision earlier this month, the diocese has heard both from people supporting the school staying in the city and those who want it moved to the suburbs — and has listened to both sides.


1chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

The ball has clearly bounced back into the City of Youngstown's court.

Will the City find money for Mooney? How committed is the City?

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2glbtactivist(321 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

They knew there was asbestos in the buildings. They must be required to remove that asbestos before they can abandon or sell the building.

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3kensgirl(1067 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

I wish Janet Tarpley would keep her nose on her face where it belongs and not in other people's business!! This is a PRIVATE school and her ilk has no business telling the Bishop what to do. The Bishop knew there was asbestos before he made the decision - if he didn't he's pretty darn stupid. He ignored the decision of the board and instead CAVED under pressure to keep the school where it is. No he is backpeddling because alumni have witheld their monetary support. The backlash from this poor decision is overwhelming. In essence the Bishop told Mooney people to kiss his butt. I don't care what people say about Mooney. It's not perfect but it strives for excellence and it's Christian values are second to none. Why not relocate instead of leaving it where it is to draw in future students who will uphold these values? I heard the Bishop will be leaving in another year or so. That's nice - screw up a fine institution then leave. So typical. Please save your poor excuses for people who actually fall for them. We weren't born yesterday. Mooney needs to relocate before another person gets hurt or killed - PERIOD!!!! Janet Tarpley can take her fight to another location - like trying to save Wilson. Another disaster by the likes of those people who are so one sided they do more harm than good. Take your fight Janet to where your nose belongs. Clean up East and Chaney. Maybe you can help with THAT mess!

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4rushblvd(15 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Volney is closing too-Maybe they can go there! It is very disappointing to hear all the negative comments from the suburbanites about the city… Maybe they better rethink there Catholic beliefs, unless the ‘Love thy Neighbor’ only applies to the burbs. It seems it is coming down the money factor and who have has the most wins..L

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5teddybear6(40 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

So the cost of asbestos removal will be way more than building a brand new school with all the new technology and such-really?? I highly doubt it. If the asbestos is such a big issue then why are they allowing students and faculty to attend classes and work there on a daily basis. The Diocese is always begging for money, so where are they going to get the money to move and build a brand new building in the suburbs.

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6mrblue(1175 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey Bishop! You knew about the asbestos long before you made that stupid decision. What happened? Did your weekly collections take a plunge? In my opinion, all you have done since you arrived is DIVIDE your flock.

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7dd933(312 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Money is the key word. Those who have lots of money will force their wills over those who do not. That's how capitalism works. People in the city (or elsewhere) who do not agree with the decision that the people with money make can stop sending their children to Cardinal Mooney.
The Diocese (and the City) will be stuck with 32 acres of condemned buildings in the middle of the poorest neighborhood in the state. The City will have another vacancy - ok what else is new? - but can the Diocese justify their action in good conscience?

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8Rooster(80 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Folks, asbestos just ain't the real story here. Every architect and contractor in the business of renovating and construction knows asbestos is part of the job in working on nearly every school, home, office building and hospital in this town, and it was part of the estimates on renovating. Asbestos is just what these Mooneys are using for a cover story for the pressure they're putting on the Bishop for not getting their way with their Mooney money and what they WON'T do with their Mooney money if he doesn't come around to their way of thinking. It's downright enlightening the contempt and disrespect shown for the Bishop on here. Well, that's one of the problems I don't have, not being a Catholic, I guess. Us Protestants don't have to worry about the money folks taking the authority from a few at the top, because we're a bottoms-up authority bunch. The Mooneys don't have to worry about the parishioners on this deal, because, like I just said, the Catholics are used to taking orders from top (or whoever is strong-arming the top). Mooneys don't care if the City gets an asbestos grant, they don't care if they're offered one of the new vacant school buildings (which makes more sense than anything else, by the way) and they don't care what the Bishop says, because they want to go to the suburbs. Period. Best the Bishop can get out of the deal is try to get some bus transportation out there for some of those Youngstowner football recruits.

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9kensgirl(1067 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey Rooster - you better quit squacking about things you are obviously oblivious to. The point is that the high school is in a dangerous area. Doesn't anyone care about safety issues??? When a student ends up getting shot via a drive by people like you will be the first to say "They should have moved." Some of you are all for supporting East and Chaney but God forbid we try to help a private instiution that has proven it's worth time and time again. BTW - if you don't have a dog in the fight don't comment. It's all the know it alls that think they have the answers. If this issue doesn't concern you MYOB. There are a lot of other issues you could stick your nose in. Pick one of the many problems surrounding Youngstown instead of trying to be a know it all on this forum. Those of us alumni who actually CARE about our school will be the ones truly affected by this decision.

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10Rooster(80 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Hey Miss Kensgirl, see - that's exactly my point. This isn't about asbestos, that's the cover story for folks strong-arming the Bishop to get him to listen to that part of his flock who doesn't want to hang around the other part of his flock and doesn't even want to join up with his other school, to boot. These folks want to keep saying "Mooney Family" to each other. Makes them feel like the big fish. Don't want any Ursaline types around and want to keep the rest of the flock just playing football. But my big nose ain't your problem, now is it? It's the Bishop. I'm just one of the folks the Mooneys must think is too dumb to know any better than this asbestos smoke screen. Sure safety is one of the issues, but if they were honest about that, they could have put the pressure on to clean up that dilapidated area a long time ago. Youngstown showed how it can seize property just fine in other areas. But the Mooneys let those buildings stay around the school because that's part of their strategy and excuse for leaving. Their biggest problem is academic, but they want to pretend it's their location. Combine with Ursaline and solve all the problems would be the intelligent thing to do. If they don't want to do that, this would be a good way for Youngstown to do some reclamation work and clean up that whole sorry area. It's an opportunity for a lot of good things to happen f these Mooneys would stop playing these asbestos games and stop strong arming the Bishop. Get behind the Bishop and strong arm the City and have some good come out of this deal for more people than just the Mooney money clan. Theres no reason in the world that folks couldn't get busy and make that area a park instead of an eyesore.

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11ANTIYOUNGSTOWN(253 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Kensgirl, I have a question, I`ve read your comments regarding the Mooney move, or lack of it, and it seems to me that you are worried about the students safety, and rightly so.
But you also state that if there isn`t a move, you do not plan on supporting Mooney anymore, even though you are a proud Mooney alum.
You say the school exists for the students to learn Christian values yet all the while, you have berated the Bishop, the Catholic leader.

My questions are, where exactly do you stand?
If the school doesn`t move, you no longer support it?
You speak about christian values yet you degrade a Catholic Bishop because he made a decision that you did not agree with. Isn`t this a contradiction?

Kens, from your posts you sound like rich kool-aid drinking Mooney-ite who isn`t getting their way. Taking your ball and going home. My guess is, it`s more about building a gleaming new monument with the Mooney name on it.

For if it truly was about christian values, you would look at the obvious decision.

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12MFC997(261 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

so you all go to catholic church and give on a weekly basis right .. ?? .... and you contribute to the school during its funding drives .. correct ?? ... its a private school, privately funded and maintained ... it is the city's responsibility to provide a safe environment .... they have failed to do so ..... Youngstown deserves nothing from Mooney ..... what has Youngstown given to Mooney HS the last thirty years aside from blight and crime ..... this is freedom of choice plain and simple ..... it is a free country ... this is a private institution ... and they have every right to vote with their feet .....

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13austintownres(4 comments)posted 3 years ago

I laugh at these people complaining that Mooney wants a new building., regardless of reason. If they wanted to build a new one elsewhere, even if the area around the old school was safe, it should be suppported! THese Y-town folks crying about the move, had no problem building all these new public schools in the city, even tho they obviously weren't needed. Course, it was easy when the state was paying about 80% of the cost and not them individually!

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