Disappointing news on St. William's deal

The plan to sell the building that once housed St. William’s Elementary School and rehab it into a new home for a Catholic high school appeared to remain stalled this week.

For more than two months, this newspaper has been reporting on the negotiations that would relocate the North Cambridge Catholic High School to the Savin Hill Avenue building. For a while, it looked like the deal was close to being done, but now it appears it may be on the verge of falling apart.

The property is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, but it remains an asset of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta at St. Margaret’s Church parish, which acquired it when the St. William’s parish was suppressed and merged with the former St. Margaret’s.

This week, Blessed Mother Teresa pastor Rev. Jack Ahern told The Reporter that he is seeking a real estate agent to begin marketing the building for purposes other than use as a school. “As far as I know, the discussions are over, and we’re moving forward,” he said. But Terry Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, disputes that assertion. “The door is not shut as far as we’re concerned. We’ll deal directly with the pastor and the parish in working through this issue.”

The old school building sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood, just a short walk from the Savin Hill Red Line station. The North Cambridge school draws students from Mattapan and Dorchester as well as Cambridge, and this new Dorchester location would seem to be a win/win for both the school and Fr. Ahern’s parish.

Persons on all sides agree it’s an appropriate re-use for a significant piece of church property. If a deal cannot be agreed upon, it would be a big disappointment.