Saturday, December 4, 2010

Former Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Duluth sold to charter school group

Thirteen years after it last served as a church, the former Good Shepherd Catholic Church no longer belongs to the Diocese of Duluth.

The building at 5905 Raleigh St. in West Duluth has operated as Raleigh Edison Charter School since 1999 on a lease-to-buy arrangement between

The charter schools exercised their option to buy on Nov. 10 through Tischer Creek Duluth Building Co., a nonprofit entity that was created because charters can’t own buildings. The Rev. James Bissonette, the priest of St. James Catholic Church, said Tischer Creek paid $207,000, the balance due.

Tim Golden, president of the Duluth Edison board, said, “Essentially we felt it was the right time.” The charter schools are purchasing a house adjacent to Raleigh Edison and will move the playground to that site and place two modular classrooms at the site of the existing playground. It’s part of an expansion plan that includes building a new school on Rice Lake Road. Hopes are to have both projects complete by next fall, Golden said.

When Good Shepherd Church closed, it merged with St. James, 715 N. 57th Ave. W. Bissonette said the money from the sale will help pay for an addition connecting St. James Church and School. Good Shepherd parishioners fought the closing at the time, but Bissonette said most of those wounds have healed over time.

“The vast majority of the people that I’ve talked to are happy for the church and the school, and it really is a win-win situation,” Bissonette said.

The Good Shepherd parish was established in 1916, Bissonette said. The existing building opened with Christmas Eve Mass in 1959. Duluth News Tribune

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