St. Elizabeth Seton School staying right where it is for now

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St. Elizabeth Seton School is located downtown on Bridge Street. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Contrary to news reports that circulated recently, the merging of Catholic school in Rochester and Dover is not imminent.

In a press release sent The Rochester Voice on Thursday, the Superintendent of New Hampshire's Catholic Schools, David A. Thibault said for now St. Elizabeth Seton School in downtown Rochester and Saint Mary Academy in Dover will continue as they have.

"After reading through survey responses, answering questions at community meetings, responding to parent calls and emails, and receiving feedback from Saint Mary Parish, it is evident that families and parishioners are passionate about Catholic education," Thibault said. "Their dedication brings me tremendous hope as we continue to work towards a bright future for Catholic education in the Tri-City area."

The diocese, Catholic Schools administrators and officials from both schools had been looking at the potential of finding a new, unified home for both schools, but it never reached the point that it was officially announced," said St. Elizabeth Seton Hall Principal Suzanne Boutin on Thursday. "Our parents were excited about a proposal and a new school and playground, that was the vision, but we are happy with staying where we are. Tparents love this building."

"Going forward, the diocese will explore three possibilities: a new building that would house both schools at a location to be determined, as well as the renovation of the existing Saint Mary Academy and Saint Elizabeth Seton School buildings with the potential for the two schools to remain separate entities," Thibault added in a statement. "Both schools will continue to operate within their current facilities while that planning is under way. Currently there is no timetable for completing that planning process.

Enrollment at St. Mary's is around 200, while St. Elizabeth Seton has about 70, added Boutin, who said she expects a permanent move could come in the next several years.

She's not sure where the new home for both schools might be, but it will be somewhere in the tri-cities.

Thibault said as they move forward their goal as always will be to "provide the highest quality education and amenities that meet the needs of our current and future families."

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