The proposal would convert Easton’s former Catholic school into apartments

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A plan to convert the former Easton Catholic School into apartments has gained approval from the Easton Zoning Hearing Panel.

The board of directors approved the plan at its meeting on Monday, June 21, according to town planner Carl Manges.

Developer Michael Glovas of Williams Township plans to convert the building into a mid-size residential building with 18 apartments. Glovas made no comment on the plan when it was reached at his office.

The school at 283 W. St. Joseph St. had primary levels until it closed in 2009.

The building hosted the YMCA Pre-K Counts program after the school closed. One group wanted to open the Strong Foundations Charter School in the building, but that plan failed. The cornerstone of the school says it was built in 1911.

The Zoning Hearing Panel granted exemptions for use, height and impervious surface. Zoning allows buildings in this area not to exceed 40 feet. The school is already 46 feet tall. Zoning allows only 50% of a lot to be waterproof, or covered with buildings or paving stones and anything that doesn’t absorb stormwater. The site is already 70% waterproof.

The Zoning Hearing Panel approved relief to allow 18 apartments to enter the former Easton Catholic School, 283 W. St. Joseph St., Easton.Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

The school still belongs to the Allentown Diocese.

“The Diocese of Allentown is grateful that the building that has played such an important role in South Side Easton for many decades continues to be a place where families can enrich the neighborhood,” said Diocese spokesperson Paul Wirth.

The school was once twinned with St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church. The church across Davis Street from the school was sold in 2017. The last diocese mass at the church was in 2016.

It is now the Divine Healing Center. The center is owned by the Vincentian Congregation, a Catholic congregation founded in Kerala, India, under the Eastern Rite Church, according to Father Thomas Sunil Aenekatt, director of the center.

The congregation includes 600 priests working in different countries and another 30 priests working in dioceses in the United States, Aenekatt said in 2018.

Divine prayer center

The Diocese of Allentown sold the former St. Joseph Catholic Church in 2018. It is now the center of divine prayer. The final Mass under the Diocese of Allentown was held in 2016. The address is 129-131 Davis St., Easton.Rudy Miller | For lehighvalleylive.com

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Rudy Miller can be reached at [email protected].


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