Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Plan to move Fenwick forums' focus

Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — A series of forums begins today on a proposal to relocate Bishop Fenwick High School to a Franklin Township site east of Interstate 75.

        • Today: 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m., Bishop Fenwick High School library, for parents of students attending Fenwick or John XXIII Consolidated Elementary School.

        • Monday: 7 p.m., Fenwick library, for those who attend Holy Family in Middletown, Holy Name in Trenton, Our Lady of Sorrows in Monroe or Incarnation in Centerville.

        • Tuesday: 7 p.m., Fenwick library, for those attending St. Francis deSales in Lebanon, St. Henry in Springboro, Our Lady of Good Hope in Miamisburg or St. Mary's in Franklin.

        • April 12: 7 p.m., Old St. John Church in West Chester for those attending St. John, St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township or St. Susanna in Mason.


        Parents of Fenwick students and those attending John XXIII Consolidated Elementary School are invited to attend either a 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. meeting at Fenwick's library, 3800 Manchester Road.

        During each forum, plans to build a 600-student school on 66 acres along Ohio 122 will be explained, said the Rev. Charles “Chuck” Mentrup, Fenwick's principal. Besides a larger, new school, the location would be more accessible than the current Middletown campus for the region's fast-growing areas, including Lebanon, Mason, West Chester and Springboro.

        The site is being donated by Fenwick alumnus Bill Akers and his wife, Debbie. The forums follow several focus group discussions in March conducted by the New Orleans-based Institute of School and Parish Development.

        Faculty at Fenwick and John XXIII gave input, as did all but one pastor of the feeder parishes to Fenwick. Forty alumni discussed the proposal, which was also pre sented to the Development Advisory Board, Father Mentrup said.

        “I have been pleasantly surprised with the support we're getting,” Father Mentrup said Tuesday. “I hope people will see our invitation and come and participate.”

        Those attending each forum will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and indicate their willingness to support the project through either monetary donations or volunteer work. If the $12 million project is approved, the new complex would include a chapel, media center, performing-arts facility, gymnasium, athletic fields, and stadiums for soccer and football.

        In addition to the forums, students will be asked their opinions on the plan when they return from Easter break. Between 80 and 100 people will also be interviewed next month. School officials also plan to contact local foundations to see if there would be support for the project.

        “All of this is part of the research we'll use to develop the final report,” Father Mentrup said.

        That report will be completed in June and forwarded to Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, who will make the final decision on the project.


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