Jul 28, 2014

Towson Catholic Not For Rent, Church Says

County Council members asked board of education last month if unused school facilities could be rented

One option that some Baltimore County Council members wanted the Board of Education to examine is off the table for addressing elementary school overcrowding as officials from the said Towson Catholic High School is not for rent.

Towson Catholic High School closed in 2009, but the adjacent Immaculate Conception Elementary School remains open.

"The school building is not available for lease because it is currently being used by .  Students attend art, music and physical education classes in the building, and eat lunch in the cafeteria and attend assemblies in the auditorium," Immaculate Conception Church pastor Father Joseph F. Barr and Immaculate Conception school board president John McFadden said in a statement.

In recent weeks, Councilman David Marks asked the county to look into leasing space at Towson Catholic as overflow space for the Towson area's crowded elementary schools. He  last month with fellow council members Todd Huff and Vicki Almond asking the Board of Education asking them to study the possibility.

"We certainly respect the separation of church and state and would never force a parish to give up control over any building," Marks said in an e-mail Thursday. "We will continue to explore all options to creatively solve the school overcrowding problem in Towson."

The school has not yet been contacted by the county, Barr and McFadden said, and other factors, including the elementary school's growth, traffic congestion and requirements from the Archdiocese of Baltimore make a lease less than likely.

"Because the facility’s future use will be determined by a Master Plan currently in development for the entire campus of Immaculate Conception Church, no commitments are presently being made about the long-term use of the building," they said in the statement.

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