The Catholic Diocese of Springfield has announced a roughly $30 million settlement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that will allow the rebuilding of Cathedral High School. The iconic building was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.
After almost three years, FEMA has agreed to pay three-quarters of the cost needed to replace Cathedral High School and St. Michael’s Academy in the city’s East Forest Park neighborhood. That’s on top of what insurance has already paid the diocese.
FEMA and the diocese will also share operating costs as the school transitions from its temporary home in Wilbraham.
The original building could hold 3,000 students, but diocese spokesperson Mark Dupont says – given a decline in enrollment in recent decades – the new building will be more appropriate to the some 500 who now attend. The diocese also announced a $10 million campaign to fund more tuition subsidies.
“And now we look to the Cathedral alumni community to do their part and to help support the endowment campaign, so the school we build will have students inside of it,”Dupont says.
Dupont says FEMA – a federal agency – can only reimburse for academic institutions and not religious entities. Still, he says the new building will double as a general meeting place for the diocese.