Old convent renovated in Westport, merging two Catholic schools

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As children prepare to head back to classes this month, workers are busy rehabbing a building on the west side to become a new Catholic school.

Parents are excited to see the investment in their Westport neighborhood.

"It's just bringing life back," said Maureen Moyà. "I think it keeps my parents young. They are both 80 and there are a lot of grandkids that come around but once this school opens, it brings back a lot of memories, from us coming back and forth."

During the last school year, kids here at Our Lady of the Angels were told that they would be going to a new school in the former Derrick Thomas Academy. But the diocese couldn't reach an agreement to reopen that building.

Instead the church is creating the new Our Lady of Hope K-8 school in Westport, spending $750,000 to rehab an old convent and combine Our Lady of the Angels kids with children from Our Lady of Guadalupe school, which the diocese has closed. Both schools have operated on the west side since the early 1900s.

"I think it has worked out better for everyone," said Mary Delac, principal of the new school. "I was a little disappointed when the deal fell through. But parents, students, the community, I’ve only gotten positives about us staying here in Westport."

Some at Our Lady of Guadalupe liked having a school within walking distance of their homes. But they understand enrollment had dropped to only 69 students and the school needed a lot of upkeep. By joining with about 150 other children in Westport, many believe the two west side neighborhoods share similarities.

Because of all the renovation underway, school won't start here until August 23rd. The new school will have air conditioning, interactive projectors and cubbies for kids.

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