Thursday, July 12, 2001

Fenwick site plan gets nod

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FRANKLIN TWP. — The Archdiocese of Cincinnati this week cleared the way to begin construction of a new Fenwick High School, the first Catholic high school to be built in the archdiocese in 35 years.

        Work will begin this summer on 66 acres along Ohio 122, 1.3 miles east of Interstate 75 in Warren County. Fenwick alumni Bill Akers and his wife, Debbie, are donating the land.

        On Tuesday, the archdiocese approved development and improvement plans for the site, which is near where Middletown Regional Hospital hopes to build a new campus.

        Football and soccer stadiums, tennis courts and other athletic fields will be built first, at a cost of roughly $2 million. The archdiocese has not yet approved plans for the high school building itself. That won't come until the fund-raising committee has cash or pledges totaling $5 million toward the $12 million project, said the Rev. Charles Mentrup, principal.

        So far the campaign has raised about $3.8 million. The public portion of the campaign, which targets alumni, parents and others, is just beginning.

        “This allows us to get part of the project moving,” Father Mentrup said.

        The last new high school opened in the archdiocese was Stephen T. Badin in Hamilton in 1966, said Dan Andriacco, director of communications for the archdiocese.

        Fenwick opened in 1952 in the old South School on Main Street. It moved into its present Manchester Road location in 1962.

        Plans call for construction of a 75,000- to 90,000-square-foot school to accommodate about 600 students from 12 feeder parishes in Butler, Warren and Montgomery counties. The school has about 370 students enrolled in grades 9-12, up 48 percent from 1987's enrollment of 250.

        The school would include a chapel, performing arts facility and gym.

        School officials have applied to annex the Ohio 122 site into Middletown. Warren County commissioners will hold a hearing on that later this week.

        Father Mentrup said if the fund-raising and design phases go as planned, the new Fenwick could open midway through the 2003-04 school year.

        Anyone interested in making a donation may call Father Mentrup at 423-0723.


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