READING, Pa. -

The Diocese of Allentown has announced plans to merge two of its high schools.

In a letter from Bishop John Barres, which was sent home with students at Central Catholic and Holy Name high schools in Reading Friday afternoon, the Diocese announced that the two schools will merge into a new school.

The site for the new Berks Catholic High School, which will open this coming August, will be at the Holy Name location.

The diocese said the new school's teachers will be chosen through a credential review and interview process involving the current teachers from the existing high schools. Administrators have not yet been chosen.

Link: News Release Announcing School MergerLink: Letter From Bishop Barres To Students, Parents

Central Catholic, which was founded in 1940, has an enrollment of 257 students. Holy Name was founded in 1964 and has an enrollment of 453 students.

"In my time as Bishop, I have been privileged to visit both Central Catholic and Holy Name on a variety of occasions," Barres wrote in his letter. "In meeting the students, parents, administrators, faculty members, alumni, and supporters, the strong tradition of quality Catholic education in faith-based settings was so evident to me along with the dedicated service of so many people to ensure our students receive the best possible education."

The diocese has been studying the future of Catholic secondary education in Berks County for quite some time.

An outside firm spoke with dozens of people and conducted an online survey that drew more than 1,900 responses. An architecture and engineering firm also studied the two existing school buildings.

Those reports were then presented to Barres, who made the final decision to approve the merger.

In his letter, Barres closed by stating, "In establishing Berks Catholic High School, I am confident that we will work together with determination, creativity, sensitivity and a deep love of our Catholic faith."

Diocese officials said they've made no decision about what will be done with Central Catholic's building or recently dedicated football field once the merger is complete.

They also said a transition committee will decide the school's new nickname, mascot, and colors.

2/4/11 Story: Diocese Takes Steps To Reverse Declining School Enrollment11/5/10 Story: End Of A Rivalry Between Central Catholic, Holy Name?Link: 10/1/10 Story: Diocese Scraps Plan To Build New High School

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