Catholic Diocese of Arlington
Encourage and teach with patience
News and Issues
- Diocese Moves Forward with High School2006-03-29
- Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde has announced that the diocese will move forward with plans to build a Catholic high school on the Cherry Hill peninsula near Dumfries, Va. The 1,000-student school – the fourth diocesan high school and first to be built in over two decades – is planned to open for the 2008-2009 academic year.
“Catholic education is a top priority for our growing diocese. We face the fortunate challenge of building new schools and setting the foundation for future generations,” said Bishop Loverde. “The construction of this high school will be a shared accomplishment of the over 400,000 parishioners of the Arlington Diocese, and an inestimable benefit for generations to come. We build because we have a vision of excellence in Catholic formation, academic instruction and outreach to our community.”
Located in eastern Prince William County along the Potomac River and north of Quantico, the Cherry Hill school will be built in the Harbor Station community currently being developed by KSI Services, Inc.
J. Reid Herlihy, director of the diocese’s Office of Planning, Construction and Facilities, which will oversee construction of the high school, said, “Having addressed the issues which resulted in a delay, the diocese is moving closer to a ground-breaking date. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors and Planning and Zoning Commission have gone the extra mile in assisting the diocese, and we’re excited to move forward.”
Issues at the Cherry Hill site, including soil conditions and rising construction costs, delayed the original 2006 opening date, according to Herlihy. Funds for construction of the high school will come from bonds, new fundraising efforts, and payment of pledges to the diocese’s ongoing Rooted in Faith-Forward in Hope capital campaign, which was initiated in 2002.
In order to meet the deadline of 2008, Herlihy said the diocese recently submitted its high school design and parameters to several construction management firms with experience in fast-tracking large projects. With the receipt of an acceptable bid and the approval of necessary permitting, the diocese expects to select a management firm this spring and begin site clearing this summer in order to open the school by August, 2008.
Comprehensive Study Complete
From late 2004 to early 2006, the Rooted in Faith-Forward in Hope, Inc., Board of Directors oversaw a comprehensive study which examined the Cherry Hill site as well as alternative high school locations in light of student demographics, size, design, feasibility, and operating and construction costs.
Fr. Mark Mealey, OSFS, President of the Board, explained, “This has been a thoughtful and thorough process. In the end, the Cherry Hill site emerged as a prime location based on our criteria of student growth, cost-effectiveness, and good stewardship.” The Cherry Hill property was gifted to the diocese in 1997 on the condition that it be used for a high school.
The diocese’s capital campaign also proposed construction of a second Catholic high school in Loudoun County after the completion of the Prince William County school. Despite the unprecedented rise in area construction costs, the diocese plans to pursue the construction of the second high school in several years. The diocese remains committed to the building of the Loudoun County school.
Launched in 2002 as the Diocese of Arlington’s first capital campaign, Rooted in Faith-Forward in Hope funds were pledged by over 30,000 families for secondary education, a priests’ retirement home, diocesan spirituality center, Catholic Charities’ housing needs, and $20 million in endowment funds for Catholic school scholarships, faculty endowments, youth ministry, religious education, and Catholic Charities. To date, 62 percent – or $70 million – of the $114 million pledged in the 5-year pledge period has been redeemed; of this, over $22 million has been disbursed back to parishes in support of parish capital projects.
Dollars are allocated to diocesan and parish projects as they are received. Accordingly, nearly 40 percent of pledges or $44 million of funds remain to be collected. The fulfillment of all pledges from the Rooted in Faith-Forward in Hope campaign is essential to the completion of all the capital projects planned for this campaign.
The Diocese of Arlington is among the fastest-growing dioceses in the nation; since 1995, the diocese has seen a nearly 40 percent increase in registered Catholics and a 26 percent increase in Catholic school enrollment. The diocese has opened seven schools in the past decade. The Diocese of Arlington covers 21 counties and 7 cities in the northern tier of Virginia. Further information is available at www.arlingtondiocese.org.
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