LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – St. Aloysius’ Roman Catholic parish in Pottstown has reached the half-way mark in efforts to raise about $700,000 in pledges to make renovations and repairs at the former St. Pius X High School property on North Keim Street. It hopes to re-open the long-vacant building as a new home for its church school.
A newsletter e-mailed Friday (Sept. 23, 2016) to parishoners by St. Aloysius’ pastor, the Rev. Joseph L. Maloney, reported the church had already received commitments for donations of more than $375,000. They won the church an extension of time – until the end of November – to collect the remainder, Maloney said.
Earlier this June, the church received an offer from the Malvern PA-based Foundation For Catholic Education, which said it would buy the Pius property from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at an estimated cost of $1.2 million and lease it to Aloysius for its school’s use at a price of only $1 annually. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to “developing local strategies and fund-raising efforts” for Catholic elementary schools within the archdiocese’s five-county area, its website said.
St. Aloysius School currently operates in four separate buildings, lacks sufficient parking, and already uses Pius’ fields for some sports events. More important to the parish, however, is an opportunity to significantly grow enrollment with the added space the Pius building would provide, Maloney has said.
Under the proposed agreement the church would be responsible for necessary building repairs, and yearly operations and maintenance. Almost a third of the money Aloysius is attempting to raise would pay to fix the building’s roof, church officials explained. The parish had hoped to assemble the complete amount in pledges by this month, and in the newsletter the pastor was clearly enthusiastic about having received more time.
“Now is indeed our time!,” Maloney wrote. “We can make the dream of providing our children with a single-building school, grass fields, separate gym and cafeteria, and plenty of parking a reality … now we truly have a chance to make history and to begin a wonderful new chapter in the history of St. Aloysius Parish and School.”
Those interested in donating should call parish Advancement Director Pat Kerwin at 610-326-5877 Ext. 422, or send her an e-mail here.
Pius closed after the new Pope John Paul II High School was completed by the archdiocese in 2010 at a cost of about $65 million on Rittenhouse Road in Royersford. It has since remained vacant, with the exception of an 18-month period in which the Pottsgrove School District leased Pius for use by students of Ringing Rocks Elementary while their own Kauffman Road school was being renovated.
Private developers during the past six years have occasionally expressed interest in working with the Pius property, 844 N. Keim St., but nothing has ever been officially proposed. Loopnet, a search engine for commercial real estate listings available for purchase, currently reports Pius has been taken off the market. It previously was listed for sale by a broker at an asking price of $3.5 million.