OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) — Archbishop Walsh High School and Southern Tier Catholic School will move to the former St. John’s School campus on N. Union Street in Olean starting in the 2023-24 academic year, school officials announced Friday.

The schools will move from their current campus on 24th Street. Archbishop Walsh High School had been housed in that building since its construction in 1959, according to the school’s website. Southern Tier Catholic School moved onto the campus in 2009.

“This move keeps our identity as a faith-based institution and allows us to move forward without worrying about maintaining an aging building that no longer effectively serves our student body,” Walsh/STCS Board President Frank McAndrew said in a statement Friday. “We’re now in a better position to preserve and build upon the great education offered here — because that’s been the goal all along.”

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which owns the schools’ current building, attempted to sell the building, in May 2020, for $150,000 to the foundation that supports Archbishop Walsh High School. The diocese and foundation had agreed on a sale in late 2019. That sale was blocked in bankruptcy court by sex abuse victims who are suing the diocese over its handling of allegations against clergy members, according to court documents.

The diocese tried to sell the land to the foundation for $300,000 in an auction where other bidders would’ve had to pay $365,000 cash to beat the foundation’s offer. That sale was struck down by a federal bankruptcy court judge in March 2022 because the diocese demonstrated “an intent to discourage competitive bidding.”

The schools’ new location, measuring at 1.68 acres, is a fraction of the size of its original 8.1-acre campus. The “smaller physical footprint” will allow the schools, which have an average of 10 students per grade, to create a “more intimate academic setting,” Walsh/STCS Board Vice President Brittany Thierman said in a statement Friday.

Archbishop Walsh High School will begin a new partnership with Catholic Virtual, an online curriculum platform, which the school says will increase course offerings, “fill teaching vacancies and eliminate scheduling conflicts.”