Diocese closing Bridgeville elementary school, buildings in Carnegie and Swissvale

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After decades of struggling with declining enrollment, Holy Child Catholic Elementary School in Bridgeville will close June 13, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh announced today.

The K-8 parochial school saw enrollment drop from 205 students in 1997 to 82 students in 2013. Fifty-three students were signed up for fall 2014.

The closure comes after several years of failed marketing strategies aimed at upping attendance.

Sister Barbara Anne Quinn RSM, the school principal, developed plans to adapt to the decrease in students by combining grade levels, upping tuition and reducing faculty, but Father Richard Yagesh rejected the plan.

"A number of families expressed their concern that this new plan would seriously compromise the education of their children and informed us that they would not remain under those circumstances," Mr. Yagesh wrote to Bishop David Zubik in a letter asking to close the school.

The diocese today also announced the closing of three church buildings, none of which has been used for worship since 2011.

The St. Ignatius church building at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Carnegie and the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Barnabas church buildings of Word of God parish in Swissvale will be closed June 30. Any religious artifacts remaining in them will be salvaged, the diocese said in a news release. Some artifacts will be used in those two parishes while the remainder will be available to other parishes and Catholic institutions.

Once those buildings are closed, both St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Word of God parishes will have only one church building each.

Brett Sholtis: bsholtis@post-gazette or 412-263-1581.

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