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Bishop tours Hays Catholic Schools facilities


Bishop Edward Weisenburger is in Hays today visiting Hays Catholic Schools' facilities.

Weisenburger, ordained in May as the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Salina, took tours of Holy Family Elementary School and Thomas More Prep-Marian Junior-Senior High School, as well as the residence halls for TMP's boarding students -- Nations Hall and Marian Hall.

Weisenburger also toured the building that until this year has been known as Kennedy Middle School. The three-story building at 1309 Fort is owned by St. Joseph Parish, but for years had been rented to Hays USD 489.

The Hays school district voted in June 2011 to close Kennedy at the end of the 2011-12 school year, and Hays Catholic Schools had hoped to possibly use the Kennedy building for junior high classes.

However, a bishop is the only one with authority to open a new school in the diocese. And at the time, a bishop had yet to be appointed as the successor to Paul Coakley, who had left the Salina Diocese in February 2010 to become the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

So supporters of HCS started the St. Thomas More Society as a fundraiser to start a junior high in the TMP building, and seventh- and eighth-grade classes began last month along with the normal high school year.