Herald Staff Writer
Sharon Regional Health System has submitted a letter of intent with the Catholic Diocese of Erie to purchase the building and property next door to its hospital that belongs to St. Joseph Church.
The action was confirmed by the Rev. Glenn A. Whitman, pastor of St. Joseph Church, and Ed Newmeyer, director of marketing and community relations.
The building at 760 E. State St., formerly home to St. Joseph School, has housed Case Avenue Elementary School for the last two years while Sharon City School District has been building the new Case Avenue Elementary School up the street.
The sale has not taken place yet, Rev. Whitman said.
“It’s just an indication that they intend to purchase the school building and the property from us when it becomes available,” he said.
Rev. Whitman said the purchase price would be nearly $600,000.
While Newmeyer could not confirm a purchase price Saturday evening, he did confirm the hospital system’s interest in the transaction.
“Sharon Regional is moving forward with plans to purchase the St. Joe’s school property,” he said.
The hospital has no specific plans for how the property will be used and officials will be evaluating all their options, Newmeyer said.
Rev. Whitman said the sale price would likely be used to set up a tuition assistance fund for active parish families who send their children to Blessed John Paul II Elementary School and Kennedy Catholic middle and high schools, which make up the Shenango Valley Catholic School System.
“The parish finance council will discuss it,” Rev. Whitman said. “You never know what things might happen, but that’s where we want to put most of it.”
The center section of the building has been standing since the 1880s, Rev. Whitman said. The gym and cafeteria were built in the 1930s and the front section was added in the 1950s.
“Should this come about and we actually sell it to the hospital, it would really be the end of an era,” Rev. Whitman said.
He thinks it would be very difficult for alumni to see the building torn down.
“We have people interested in the floor boards of the gym,” Rev. Whitman said. “I’m sure people would like memorabilia if demolished.
“I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of alumni that can tell lots of stories,” Rev. Whitman said. “A lot of alumni have made a significant contribution to the valley.”