By Denise Dick
No decision about whether or not Cardinal Mooney High School will relocate to southern Mahoning County will be made until at least April.
The school issued a news release Thursday saying that the school’s board of directors has extended the quiet phase of the fundraising campaign through the end of April. The decision was made with the permission of Bishop George V. Murry of the Diocese of Youngstown.
The Rev. Gerald DeLucia, president of Mooney, said the “quiet” phase is the time when substantial donations are secured before the official campaign begins.
The first deadline was last month, but that was determined to be unrealistic. Past donors and alumni are being solicited for donations in the early stage.
“That was not enough of a time frame to try to draw in the kinds of commitments that are needed,” Father DeLucia said. “It’s quite a challenging process. There’s no doubt about that. December seemed to be a little bit unrealistic.”
Catholic School Management, a consulting firm that has assisted Mooney through the study and planning process for the proposed new school, recommended to Mooney’s board that the quiet phase be extended.
“At the end of April, if the bishop determines that not enough has been committed, we’ll turn back to our present school building to see how it can be enhanced,” the school president said.
If enough has been committed by the end of April, the official capital campaign likely would begin.
A southern Mahoning County site has been discussed for a new building, to draw from Columbiana County as well as Mahoning County’s most populous suburbs. But an actual site has not been disclosed publicly by school directors.
Father DeLucia said the extension of the quiet phase isn’t an indication that efforts are going poorly.
The cost estimate for the new building is $29 million, and fundraising also must generate enough for a $5 million endowment for economically disadvantaged students.
The goal is to have 70 percent of that amount, or $23 million, accounted for in the quiet phase. Father DeLucia said the 70 percent is determined by Catholic School Management and is standard for such building projects.
Father DeLucia declined to say how much has been raised so far.
“A significant amount is accounted for,” he said.
Joseph Kelty, a member of the board of directors and a Mooney alumnus, is spearheading the remainder of the campaign’s quiet phase.
Father DeLucia estimated that at least 300 people have been contacted in the campaign’s early phase.