LIVERMORE, CA-Two studies due back in January should determine the fate of a proposed Catholic high school that the Diocese of Oakland says it wants to locate here. The studies will determine the feasibility of raising $50 million for construction. The Diocese is also studying whether there will be enough potential students to make construction worthwhile.

The school is tentatively slated for 122 acres owned by the Catholic Cemeteries of the Disocese of Oakland, on North First Street at Interstate 580. The diocese has been kicking around the idea of building a high school in Livermore since 1996, when it first commissioned a survey on the subject. The latest surveys were recently sent to parishioners in Danville, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore to find out if the support that was voiced four years ago still exists.

Nationwide, Catholic school enrollment has surged by more than 64,000 students over the past decade, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. In the East Bay, where the general population continues to boom, the diocese expects to see 100,000 new Catholics by 2015.

The Livermore high school is tentatively planned on North First Street at Interstate 580, on 122 acres owned by Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Oakland. The Rev. Dan Danielson said the demand for a Livermore Catholic high school is most likely there, but the money to build it may not be. “I would maintain that unless you have some really big donors in the multimillion-dollar category, this (school) is not going to happen,” said Danielson, pastor at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Pleasanton.

Manchester said the studies — no matter what they show — will at least answer the question of whether a Livermore high school is feasible. “I’m very hopeful,” Manchester said of the monetary possibilities. “I do think there’s great financial potential in the Tri-Valley area. At least with these two studies, we’ll have an answer one way or the other.”

The Oakland Diocese operates what amounts to a medium-size school district in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, educating 21,300 students at its 51 elementary and nine high schools. The last Catholic school built in the diocese was St. Raymond in Dublin, an elementary school that opened in 1986. The diocese’s most recent high school venture was in 1965, when it built Moreau in Hayward and Carondelet and De La Salle high schools in Concord.

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