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CURRENT ISSUE:  January 21, 2008
VOL. 46, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Christianity, tribalism clash in Kenya
Diocese commended for sex abuse program
Bishop gives OK for assessment
of John Paul II High School

Fourteen months after postponing formal fund raising for a new Catholic high school in Livermore in order to concentrate fully on building the new Cathedral of Christ the Light Center, Oakland Bishop Allen Vigneron has approved plans for the school’s steering committee to secure seed money to assess how the project should proceed.

In making the announcement on Jan. 18, Bishop Vigneron said expected completion of the cathedral complex this summer means “we can now turn our attention to building this new high school.”

The proposed college preparatory high school will be called Pope John Paul II Catholic High School and will sit on 32 acres of a 122-acre plot owned by the Oakland Diocese in northeast Livermore. Current plans call for a campus to accommodate a coed student body of 1,200 students.

Richard Kruska, diocesan superintendent of schools, said the next step is to hire a program manager to oversee such pre-construction work as finalizing the school’s design and building an access road from the school site to Interstate 580.

A fundraising firm will also be hired to manage a capital campaign. Full cost of the project will not be known until the program manager has completed a construction analysis, Kruska said.

“We are confident that there are enough education-focused donors in the diocese to move forward with the project,” he said. Signature Properties, a real estate development company, has covered much of the start-up costs already incurred.

No date has been set for groundbreaking, but Kruska said it generally takes about two years to build a state-of-the-art school such as John Paul II High with administrative offices, classrooms, a chapel, performing and visual arts facility, a sports complex, and parking spaces. The campus will be surrounded by scenic open space, including two arroyos.

Kruska said a board of trustees will be formed for the school, which will be owned by the diocese, but might be staffed by members of a religious community.

Studies conducted for the diocese over the past decade have shown that Tri-Valley parents are eager for a Catholic high school in the area. When the formal fund raising was postponed in November 2006, many elementary school parents expressed their deep disappointment in the decision, in part because it meant the school would probably not be ready for their children.

John Paul II High will be the first new high school built in the diocese since 1965 when Carondelet and De La Salle high schools opened in Concord and Moreau Catholic opened in Hayward.

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