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Church plans to build school

Veronica Reardon’s fourth and fifth graders wrote down words she’d read aloud as Father Michael Goldade watched the dictation exercise at St. Padre Pio Academy last year. A new school is planned to replace basement rooms now used for classes. —Macklin Reid photo

The traditionalist Catholic religious order on Lake Mamanasco, the Society of St. Pius X, hopes to add a classroom building and a gymnasium to its property at 209 Tackora Trail.

The society bought the old Manressa Retreat House decades ago, and in the years since has operated first a seminary and later a retreat house there. The society also built the Christ the King chapel that is visible from North Salem Road, where it regularly conducts traditionalist Latin Masses, and operates the Padre Pio Academy, a  K-8 elementary school, in the basement of the chapel.

The Planning and Zoning Commission last Tuesday night received a letter from the society’s architect, David A. Schaefer, requesting a “pre-submission concept meeting” to discuss the plans for more construction in a general way.

The purpose “would be to discuss a two-phased, master plan proposal” that involves construction of a new free-standing 7,400 square foot “school house” building for kindergarten through 12th grade, and a gymnasium of the same size.

“Phase I is the new K-12 School House,” Mr. Schaefer wrote. “This building will provide much needed additional classroom space for today’s enrollment as well as for planned future growth.

“Phase II is the future gymnasium. Once additional funds are raised, this building will be designed and built as a multi-purpose space including student exercise, public performances, community events, etc.”

The commission scheduled the discussion of the Society’s plans for its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, which is scheduled to start at 7:30. The evening’s agenda also includes another session of the public hearing on Eppoliti Realty’s application for a mixed use building at 159 Danbury Road, combining affordable housing apartments above ground floor businesses.

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