(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
Shiawassee’s County’s only Catholic school, St. Paul in Owosso, has announced that it is to move to a new campus in time for the beginning of the new school year in Fall 2020.
“I think the vast majority of school parents will think this news is a Christmas present come early,” said Jason Rivest, a father of a student at the school and a member of the St. Paul School Parent Teacher Council. “The amazing teachers and staff make up the school. They will still be amazing in whatever building they are in.”
St. Paul Parish School is presently located on W. Main Street (top). The school, built in 1927, currently requires estimated repairs of up to $500,000 due to the deterioration of the exterior brickwork. The damage is such that the school authorities created a safety zone around the building last year to protect children, staff and visitors from falling masonry.
The Owosso Catholic parish of St. Paul, which includes both the St. Paul Church and school site and the St. Joseph Church and school site, established an expert committee to review all of their facilities over the last year. That committee has now reported back with the clear recommendation that the parish school moves to the campus of the former St. Joseph School on E. Oliver Street.
“The committee found that the option of upgrading the more recently constructed St. Joseph School is, by far, the more financially sensible option when compared to the costs of renovating the St. Paul building,” said Bruce Buysse, of the buildings and grounds committee which carried out the review over the past 12 months.
“The St. Joseph building also meets the guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act for accessibility, whereas, the St. Paul building does not, while the St. Joseph building also has easier access for technology upgrades and the option to air condition.”
The parish hopes that the new school building, which will still carry the name of St. Paul School, will also help attract new students to the updated facility.
“Like most parishioners, I too feel a degree of sadness that the St. Paul school building, with all its history and memories, is no longer financially feasible or, even safe for us to continue to use,” said Pastor of St. Paul & St. Joseph, Father Michael O’Brien.
“Despite that sadness, I also have great faith that this new school campus will begin a new chapter in our school’s history. My goal is that we continue our mission to be able to offer an affordable faith filled education with high academic standards to our students for years to come.”