Old St. Rita’s school being torn down at Broad and Ellsworth; Cascia Center happening

Demolition has begun on the former St. Rita’s school at Broad and Ellsworth, the site of the proposed Cascia Center, a “peacemaking” center that is now moving forward.


Cranes started tearing away at the building Monday, the day a demolition permit was issued. The demolition is for the ’50s era school, which closed around 1990 (not sure about that date). The shrine is not being touched.

The first time the classrooms were seen like this.


The sign says the daycare is “now enrolling.”

Fr. Joe Genito, pastor and director of the shrine, said that he hopes groundbreaking for the center will be sometime in the spring. Fundraising took longer than expected, which is evidenced by the information on this brochure soliciting donations saying the center’s projected opening date would be 2011.

The ambitions for the building were scaled back quite a bit. An old rendering of the proposed center shows that a glass addition was to be built on the Broad Street side of the building and that the current gravel lot would be converted to a surface parking lot. Instead, it will be a one-story building built from scratch, about 6,000 square feet.

cascia center
This was the old vision, but it’s now quite out of date.

The center will be nondenominational and reach out to the community to “offer solutions for peacemaking and conflict resolution,” Genito said.

He said the center would build on the work at the shrine, which honors St. Rita of Cascia, a peacemaker who was born in what is now Umbria, Italy in 1381. “She got hotheaded Italians to stop killing each other,” Genito said. “We want to use that symbol of St. Rita the peacemaker to reach out to a very violent city.”

The back of the building.
The back of the building.



The shrine itself next door. Nice building.

6 thoughts on “Old St. Rita’s school being torn down at Broad and Ellsworth; Cascia Center happening

  • January 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I really hope one of the changes is to re-orient the building so the main entrance is on Broad Street.

    • January 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

      And building a one story building there is absolutely shameful. Insane not to include second floor residential. THIS is one absolute reason that most corners on South Broad should be re-zoned CMX-2.5, at the very least.

  • January 16, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Surface Parking? Hopefully its hidden from view, especially from the broad street side.

    I think thats one of the worst things about south broad street from an aesthetics standpoint…..numerous unkempt and unbound surface lots.

  • January 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Couple things:

    The inside of the Shrine is absolutely incredible – top to bottom. It’s a must see.
    Surface parking does kind of stink but I would argue parking in the middle lane is worse for the aesthetics of South Broad. It’s sloppy looking and flat out dangerous.
    Agree on the point that South Broad should be re-zoned and the buildings should be built upwards and not necessarily outwards.

  • January 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm


  • January 31, 2014 at 11:16 am

    One story building?? Ridiculous. Hopefully when this peacemaking absurdity fails to generate any money or support the church will sell this to someone who actually gives a damn about proper design and construction. You wanna help people, build a place for kids to spend their time after 6pm.

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