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St. Pius X campus could be sold due to bankruptcy

Students leave the campus at the end of the school day at St. Pius X Catholic high school on Albuquerque’s west side. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — St. Pius X High School may soon have to find a new home, according to a letter sent by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe announcing that it may be forced to sell the West Side campus as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

The letter sent to members of the St. Pius community by Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester in January said the school’s campus, as well as buildings used by archdiocesan staff, may be sold as a result of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in 2018 following hundreds of settlements with victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy members.

“We deeply regret the distress that this possible marketing of the campus will cause in the St. Pius X community of students, parents, alumni, staff and the surrounding communities,” Wester wrote in the letter.

Wester said bankrupt organizations are required to monetize assets deemed non-essential to the organization’s primary mission and the St. Pius campus and archdiocesan buildings fell under this category.

He said church staff are looking at ways the archdiocese can monetize the campus to avoid listing it on the open market, but he did not provide details.

However, “If the sale of the current site is unavoidable, we may have to find an alternate location” for the high school, Wester said in the letter. “In such a case, marketing will take significant time, and so we hope — and anticipate — that SPX will continue at its current location at least through May 2022.”

It is not known what current steps are available to keep the school at its current location and the Journal was unable to reach the Archdiocese for comment Tuesday.

News of the possible sale of the campus and buildings came as a surprise to some members of the St. Pius community, with commenters on social media expressing sadness over the potential sale.

“This is the saddest SPX news in a while,” wrote one person. “The school facility is the asset that has to be liquidated to pay for the sins of a few.”

Under the Chapter 11 reorganization, the church is allowed to continue operations while liquidating some assets in an effort to compensate victims of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.

The 2018 petition for reorganization listed the total of all archdiocese assets at $49 million, including nearly $32 million in real estate.

In addition to assets held by the archdiocese, nearly $60 million in property is held in trusts for parishes in the archdiocese.

Founded in the basement of St. Charles Borromeo Church in 1956, the parochial Catholic high school has grown to a current enrollment of just under 700 students, according to the school’s website.

In 1988, St. Pius moved from its Uptown location to the former campus of the University of Albuquerque at 5301 St. Joseph’s NW.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the year St. Pius moved into its West Side location. The school purchased the property at 5301 St. Joseph’s NW in 1986, but moved into the property in 1988.
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