Canaan’s new Catholic school looks to launch construction plans in January

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NEW CANAAN – Father Robert Kinnally said members of St. Aloysius School are eager to move into his new “state-of-the-art building” and that he will push to be on the board’s calendar planning and zoning in January.

Although this is not yet the case, designs are currently being developed for the new school which will be called St. Aloysius Academy. Along with the teaching building, plans for an administration building and a campus with plenty of green space are under consideration, Kinally said on Monday, calling it “an exciting project.”

Neither P&Z President John Goodwin nor city planner Lynn Brooks Avni were available for comment this week to confirm if there was time on the zoning commission’s schedule in January for the new project.

St. Aloysius Parish was founded in 1896 and the complex consists of three religious buildings on South Avenue between Maple and Cherry Street. The old church, consecrated in 1917, will remain standing, according to Kinnally. The school building and the old rectory at 40 Maple Street will be demolished to make way for two new buildings, if the commissioners agree to the plans, the priest said.

The new St. Aloysius Academy, which should now have a real school board and be “more responsible for its own fundraising”, will now house a nursery school, eligible for children aged three and four, as well as kindergarten to fourth. year. St. Aloysius currently teaches Kindergarten to Grade 8, but the top four years will be removed as part of the rebranding.

The Diocese of Bridgeport informed families of the change in November. The school will add a preschool to meet a need in New Canaan and Fairfield County, the priest said. With the current setup and “so many schools in town,” the school has struggled to register, Kinnally said.

Designs will be made to accommodate after-school religious education for the nearly 800 parishioner children currently enrolled as well. Most of the church’s ward members are from New Canaan, through Kinnally, with a few from Darien and the neighboring towns of New York.

The new school building will also include new music and art classes, a new multi-purpose gymnasium and a cafeteria. The gymnasium will also be made available to the parish.

In place of the current rectory there will be a building intended to have a new community hall available to local organizations and “is needed” as the church “is in desperate need of space” to meet the needs of 3,000 parishioners. , Kinnally said.

Much like the plans for the new nearby library project, a green space will be proposed to stretch from Cherry Street to Maple Street and the plans include an outdoor / indoor cafe. Currently, the church campus has little green space and the current outdoor space is mostly used for parking lots, Kinnally said.

“One thing that has been learned” from COVID-19 is the value of “creating more outdoor space”. After construction, he expects the school to have two additional parking lots.

While the two new buildings are being constructed, students from St. Alysius will attend the newly renovated Holy Spirit in Stamford, where students attended Kindergarten to Grade 12 before being merged with other schools. Stamford is a good location for the temporary school since half of the students come from Stamford, Kinnally said. Most families of older students will not need to find other solutions as Stamford School “will still have Kindergarten to Grade 8 for two or three more years,” the priest added.

The school is in final negotiations for the use of the facility in the neighboring town.

“The time was right,” Kinnally said.

The current South Avenue school is a U-shaped building and new construction will encompass half of that U-shape, with the side facing Cherry Street measuring two stories, although it is not expected to protrude the height of the current gymnasium.

Kinnally said he spoke to New Canaan Library Executive Director Lisa Oldham, with whom he has an “excellent relationship,” about the school’s schedule of plans as the new library project is currently under construction.

While there may be some overlap in construction, Kinnally said, he hopes he doesn’t cause “too much disruption on South Avenue” because “we could start before they finish,” he said. -he declares.

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