After multiple changes in plans, Cristo Rey announced last Spring their intention to build a new schoold in Manchester as we covered in Cristo Rey Private School Comes To Manchester! Unfortunately for Manchester, that plan appears to have changed again.
On Tuesday, Cristo Rey announced at the VMFA that it has changed its plan to build in Manchester and open in the Museum District at the old Benedictine high school instead. Richmond BizSense covered the story, and reported that being closer to Innsbrook was part of the decision making criteria for the change:
During planning, Cristo Rey prioritized being accessible from both downtown and Innsbrook. It had explored building from scratch in Manchester, which would have cost more than $25 million.
“So we started exploring other options, and the Catholic Diocese and bishop said, ‘We have the old Benedictine high school that’s built to be a high school that’s ready to move-in,’” McCourt said.
He said Cristo Rey Richmond has raised $2.5 million and aims to double that this year so the school can open with $5 million in hand.
While the change in plan given the price tag associated with building a new school, and the ability to move into a readily available building is certainly understandable, it is a disappointing development for Manchester nonetheless. Many of the local Latino and African-American students in Manchester, Blackwell, Oak Grove, and Swansboro that the program is intended to serve, will now need to be transported across town to make the program work. While that certainly can be sorted out, it adds a new logistical component to the mix.
Regardless of the change, the Christo Rey program appears to have great potential. We hope that Cristo Rey has great success even though Manchester is no longer a part of their immediate plans.