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Update on Good Shepherd Property

This summer, the Rush-Henrietta Central School District’s purchase of the Good Shepherd church and school, located at 3288 East Henrietta Road, was completed. This was made possible when our community approved a proposal to purchase the property in 2018.

The Good Shepherd property is located on East Henrietta Road, south of Lehigh Station Road, and adjacent to the Senior High School campus. It includes the former Good Shepherd School and original church. For much of the past decade, the district has leased the former school. There, Rush-Henrietta houses a number of self-funded community programs, such as Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Cub Care, and its adult literacy efforts.

Rush-Henrietta has enjoyed a good working relationship with St. Marianne Cope Parish, which oversees Good Shepherd. When the proposal was approved in 2018, the district agreed that the parish could operate its campus through June 2022. However, parish leaders announced recently that it will cease operations at the site this October. This decision was made solely by the parish. In a letter to members, Sister Sheila Stevenson, pastoral administrator, explained how Good Shepherd church attendance has declined during the past two years, and shared that it is no longer financially feasible to operate a third church.

District leaders fully appreciate the significance of Good Shepherd, and know that it has been a special place in the lives of many Rush-Henrietta residents. That is why we want to let you know that a final weekend of Masses will be held at Good Shepherd Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20. A closing ritual and evening prayer will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, October 21. More details are available from St. Marianne Cope Parish on its website at www.smcrcc.org.

The district looks forward to using the location to continue serving our community for many years. Several options are being developed for consideration by the Board of Education. A number of people have inquired regarding the future of the original church. Plans being considered call for that structure to be renovated in a way that would support school district initiatives and programs. Designs and potential pricing are being researched.

As Rush-Henrietta looks to the future, it continues to examine the possibility of adding another entrance and exit for the high school’s west parking lot. It also is studying the potential of additional parking for events at Elmer Gordon Stadium and Senior High School athletic fields.

As a reminder, here is what made this opportunity especially attractive: Monroe One BOCES is leasing a portion of the Webster Building, 2000 Lehigh Station Road. Lease payments received from BOCES are being used to purchase the Good Shepherd property.

BOCES is making annual payments of $341,811 which, with the elimination of $60,000 in yearly district lease payments for Good Shepherd School, provide the district with an annual funding stream of $401,811. Given the purchase price of $1,397,200, the Good Shepherd property will be repaid fully by the time the BOCES lease expires in August 2022. The district will pay for the property in less than four years, while gaining strategic flexibility for decades to come.