As St. Mary School in Gloucester City celebrates its 150th anniversary, the Camden Diocese still has plans to move Gloucester Catholic High School – originally owned by the parish and named St. Mary High School.
However, final plans will not move forward until the economy starts improving.
Ownership of the high school transferred to the diocese in the mid 20th century, and for years there has been speculation about its future in Gloucester City.
Meanwhile, in this weeks paper the Gloucester City News will honor St. Mary Elementary School – the oldest in the diocese – on its 150 years of excellence in education.
After extensive surveys of parents and demographic needs, “we know there is growth in Gloucester County, and there needs are not being met,” Diocesan Spokesperson Andrew Walton said.
The survey of parents in 2007 showed “there was support for a Catholic high school in the area,” Walton said.
Currently, the diocese is considering a 100-acre tract of land in Mullica Hill, Harrison Township.
Located near Route 77, the new school would have a 1,000 student capacity, and would be 200,000 square feet, he said.
In the past 10 years, Gloucester Catholic has continually been at full enrollment – more that 800 students.
“We are in the early stages of state and local approval,” Walton said, adding the diocese is concerned about the economy.
An article in the April 3 edition of the Catholic Star Herald stated: “While preliminary approvals are being sought, the diocese is also exercising caution in the fact of the current economic downturn.
“The diocese has decided that it will defer action on the financing portion of the high school proposal until current economic conditions stabilize.”
Walton said, “As you might expect, in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and the uncertainty of the financial markets, it is best to wait to procure financing and to see final approvals.”