The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 10, 2013

Bishop McCort planning to expand international program

Dave Sutor

JOHNSTOWN — Bishop McCort Catholic High School is looking to expand the international flavor of its student body.

The institution plans to open a new boarding house for young males from China and maybe other countries, possibly as soon as the 2013-14 academic year.

Up to 18 individuals will be able to live inside the home in the 1000 block of McKinley Avenue in Johnstown’s 8th Ward. Currently, 18 students attend the school as part of the International Education Program, and reside with host families.

With the inclusion of a boarding house, the number of participants could double.

“We just think it’s an exciting opportunity to continue to expand the school and to improve student diversity and academic opportunities for not only foreign students but our students,” Bishop McCort Principal Ken Salem said.

The latest step in the process occurred on Wednesday, when Bishop McCort received an exemption from the city’s zoning board to use the home, which is located in a R-1 residential area, as a boarding house.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Bishop McCort to add some additional students. ... I don’t see there being any downfall to having McCort with this program,” said Johnstown economic development specialist Josh Summits after the hearing.

The building is located within a few feet of the school, which would allow Bishop McCort officials to conveniently provide 24-hour supervision of the students.

“It just looked like a natural location because of the proximity of the school campus to the house,” said Salem.

Plans for the house are scheduled to move forward after the 30-day appeal process expires on the zoning board’s ruling.

If, at any time in the future, the building is not used as a Bishop McCort boarding house, it will revert to a residential unit.

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