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Billings Catholic Schools hope to sell old St. Francis building - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Billings Catholic Schools hope to sell old St. Francis building

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BILLINGS - The old St. Francis upper school in downtown Billings may soon be sold to help pay for the new Catholic school on Colton Boulevard.

Billings Catholic Schools now has clear title to the property on North 32nd Street near Third Avenue North, according to its president, Shaun Harrington.

Kate Fratt donated the building that opened for classes back in 1918.

Fratt donated the building for use as a parochial school, but if its use changed, she or her heirs could take the building back.

As many as 450 family members chose not to pursue ownership, and the last one reached a confidential mediation settlement last Friday, according to Harrington.

The plan is for the Billings Catholic Schools Foundation to sell the building and apply the proceeds toward the debt on the new St. Francis Catholic School.

Harrington said putting the money into the new school continues Fratt's gift into parochial education.

He also said a street in front of the new St. Francis Catholic School is named Kate Fratt Way.

The building is currently held by the Diocese of Great Falls Billings for the benefit of the Billings Catholic Schools.

Harrington says with the Diocese bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy court will have to approve selling the Fratt building to pay down the debt on the new school.

The Diocese declared bankruptcy after dozens of survivors of sexual abuse by priests and nuns a half century ago sued. Representatives of the survivors have claimed the value of properties held by the parishes, such as the St. Francis, should be included in a settlement.

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