Four years ago, the Diocese of Buffalo was going through a painful process of closing several schools - especially in South Buffalo. Notre Dame Academy survived because it was considered the best choice for merging and forming of a new regional school called South Buffalo Catholic School.
Now four years later, South Buffalo Catholic is so successful with 482 students that it has run out of space. South Buffalo Catholic also has a waiting list for families interested in sending their children to the school.
Schools officials are exploring options for the future.
Fr. Bryan Zielenieski, Canonical Administrator for South Buffalo Catholic, said many options are being looked at to handle the growing demand from parents - but two options are getting the most attention.
The first would be to cap enrollment and spend $700,000+ to upgrade the current building. Fr. Zielenieski said the Notre Dame Academy building needs a roof, electrical upgrades, and new windows among other things.
The second option is to buy the former South Buffalo Charter School on South Park Avenue which is up for sale with an asking price around $750,000. That building has fourteen more classrooms than Notre Dame Academy, as well as an auditorium and better gymnasium.
Fr. Zielenieski said no decision has been reached and input is being collected from parents, school board and diocese. It is hoped a final decision can be reached by January 2018.
How would it be paid for?
Fr. Zielenieski emphasized there would be no tuition increase with either option and funding would come from other sources.
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly talked with several parents who were split on which option was best. Some like the Notre Dame site because it is across the street from a church. Others thought a bigger building will protect the school's future.
However, all agreed that keeping the school open is a priority, no matter where it is located.
You can hear more in Ed's report.