Prayer Answered: St. Al’s Heads To Pius Campus

Happy students at St. Aloysius School celebrate Friday with the news of their impending move

Prayer Answered: St. Al's Heads To Pius Campus

Involved in Friday’s announcement were the Rev. Joseph Maloney, left, pastor of Saint Aloysius, and Jonathan Friedman, representing the Foundation for Catholic Education

POTTSTOWN PA – Prayers of parishioners, parents and students for St. Aloysius Catholic Elementary School, 220. N. Hanover St., were answered Friday morning (Dec. 2, 2016) as the Rev. Joseph Maloney announced the school had met its funding requirements and would move to start the next academic year in a larger facility: the former St. Pius X High School on North Keim Street in Lower Pottsgrove.

St. Aloysius’ parish, which owns and operates the school, so far has raised more than $500,000 to make necessary repairs to the Pius building. The structure itself is expected to be purchased from its current owner, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, by the Malvern PA-based Foundation For Catholic Education at a price of about $1.2 million. It in turn would lease the building to the parish, under earlier reported plans, for what an archdiocesan press release Friday called “a nominal fee.”

The coming move represents both an end to the school’s cramped quarters, spread across four buildings on North Hanover Street, and a chance for it to grow market share among other area private educational institutions competing for student enrollments.

Read more in The Post about news leading up to Friday’s announcement:

The parochial school now serves 238 children in kindergarten through eighth grade. With the move they will benefit, according to the archdiocese, from a significantly larger campus that includes “a separate gymnasium and cafeteria, sports fields, stadium, a stage to expand the school’s fine arts program, grassy fields for recess, and more parking.” Its classrooms also could accommodate dozens more students.

Before Friday’s announcement, the school received a two-year grant for a new science, technology, engineering and math curriculum from Project Lead the Way, a national non-profit organization that develops STEM courses. A science laboratory in the former high school and other “existing amenities within the new campus will allow for maximum implementation of the curriculum and the best possible use of grant funding,” the release added.

Church and school pastor Maloney’s announcement came at the end of a regularly scheduled Mass.

“I am amazed. I am overjoyed,” the priest said of the accomplishment. “I am humbled, and I am so very proud.” The impending move, Maloney added, “means that members of our parish community have joined together to make a concrete statement in support of Catholic schools,” and to supply “as many children as we can … (with) the best opportunity possible to become the saints they are called to be.”

The fund-raising effort, which began early this summer, was propelled by “many parishioners, community members, and an anonymous benefactor who provided a substantial gift,” the release said.

The Pius building is located about two miles away from the current campus for St. Al’s, as it is popularly known. The high school operated from 1953 until its closure in 2010, when the new Pope John Paul II High School was opened in Royersford.

“In a time when many schools are facing challenges, we are working proactively to provide for the future,” St. Al’s Principal Sarah Kerins said of the move. “We are showing the world that Catholic schools matter; that we are alive, that we are thriving, and that the Catholic community believes that an education rooted in faith is a worthwhile investment.”

The elementary building will be vacated at the end of the current academic year, during Summer 2017. What happens with it afterward “has not been determined at this time,” according to the archdiocese. Because the North Hanover Street property is owned by the church, Maloney and the parish pastoral and finance councils will address its disposition “in a manner consistent with providing for continued parish viability and sustainability,” the release said.

Photos from St. Aloysius School