Frustration over future of Cathedral High School - - The News for South Mississippi

Frustration over future of Cathedral High School


Since being nearly destroyed in the 2011 tornado, Cathedral High School's future has been uncertain.

Residents of East Forest Park, where the damaged school sits, met with officials from the Springfield Diocese Wednesday night to get answers.

"Cathedral was a place of pride, a beacon of pride, it's now become an eyesore," said Kathleen Murphy who had four children graduate from the Catholic school. 

Murphy is just one of the dozens who want to see Cathedral pride restored.

Her husband pledged $125 to the school when he traveled here from Ireland in 1955, four years before the school even moved to its current home on Surrey Road.

"That was probably like $5,000 today and he probably had very little in his pocket," Murphy said.

Dozens of parents and alumni demanded answers, wanting to know why two years later there are still no clear plans for rebuilding.

"The delay of the construction has been a serious concern, and whether or not they're going to rebuild," said parent and Springfield City Councilor Tim Rooke. 

The Diocese had been locked in a two-year-long battle, finally being awarded $49 million to rebuild earlier this year.

"Now that we have that settlement in hand, we're going to be equally prudent about how we proceed going forward," said Springfield Diocese spokesman Mark Dupont. 

Diocese officials say the $49 million is not enough. They're also seeking $10 million in pledges from neighbors to keep the school up and running once it's built.

They say with current tuition at just over $9,000 a year, but actual education costs at 1$4,000 per student, they're facing deficits.

But for many here, Wednesday's meeting was one more delay for a group of people desperate to see Cathedral return.

"I own a couple bricks in that building," Murphy said. 

Since the tornado, the Diocese has been leasing Memorial Elementary School in Wilbraham to accommodate students.

The Diocese plans on meeting with FEMA next week to discuss possibly getting more funds.

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