PHILADELPHIA (FOX 29) - Saint Laurentius School in Fishtown is set to reopen Wednesday after it was closed for three days because the archdiocese was concerned for the children’s safety after thick chunks of stone flew off the facade of the school’s former parish—just a couple of doors down.
Officials say the decision was made based on findings and recommendations from the independent engineering firm that has been assessing damage to the former Saint Laurentius Church building over the past few days.
The closure was the latest headache for Saint Laurentius parents like Patricia Kinsman who says many of them wanted to see the now deconsecrated church sold and renovated years ago for the safety and best interest of all.
On the flip side of an entangled court battle is Frank Brzozowski with a group called The Faithful Laurentians who are fighting a plan to develop the property into 20-plus apartments instead the group’s attorney says they want to see The city’s first Polish Catholic Church preserved inside and out and appropriately re-purposed perhaps as a community center.
While judges review various appeals, the property built in the 1880s is showing its age. Kinsman says the school community doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to make the necessary repairs and says the holding pattern is frustrating, especially now that it’s impacting the safety and education of the students.
"Everybody just wants this to end. We want the development to go forward we want the church to be saved. We want the school to be financially viable," Kinsman said. "It would've been converted two years ago and stabilized and repaired and none of this would've happened if developer had been allowed to continue with the plan to convert into apartments."