EDGEWATER — St. Gregory the Great, the city's first coed Catholic high school, will close its doors at the end of the school year after 75 years on the Far North Side.
Record-low enrollment and mounting costs to maintain the building at 1677 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. forced the decision, said Peter Dinges, dean of students at the school.
"It's difficult because of how close-knit the community is," he said. "There's a great amount of sadness."
School officials said the shuttering came in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Chicago. It announced the closure to parents on Wednesday, Dinges said.
The 92 students who are currently enrolled will have the option to attend Holy Trinity High School in West Town with no increase in tuition in a deal worked out with the archdiocese, Dinges said. If a student decides to attend a different Catholic school, $1,000 will be given toward tuition for the 2013-14 year.
A long-term scholarship fund also has been established to help financially needy students who would like to have attended to St. Gregory. Eligibility requirements for the scholarship, other than financial need, have not been established.
The building will remain in the hands of St. Gregory the Great Parish. It's uncertain what it will be used for.
"It's a sign of the times," said Sister Barbara Quinn, who's been a member of the parish for 26 years. "I'm sad because I admired [the school]."
The 78-year-old former Catholic school teacher said the high school at one time was very popular.
St. Scholastica, an all-girls Catholic high school in Rogers Park, closed under similar circumstances at the end of last year. Students entering their senior year were able to finish out their studies on the school's campus, while an UNO charter school leased most of the building.
With the closing of St. Gregory, there will be 20 city high schools operating in the archdiocese and 17 in the suburbs.