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Insurance slows Cathedral rebuild

Date: 2/15/2012

Feb. 15, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

SPRINGFIELD — Homeowners with tornado damaged properties aren't the only ones still dealing with insurance companies in the hopes of moving forward with rebuilding.

Mark Dupont, chief executive officer, Catholic Communications, Diocese of Springfield, said the diocese is still negotiating with its insurance carrier, The Catholic Mutual Group of Omaha, Neb., regarding a fair settlement for the damage wrought to Cathedral High School by the EF-3 tornado that hit the city on June 1, 2011.

Dupont said of the estimated eight figure settlement, "there's a great dispute between us and them [and] we're pushing them hard" to reach an agreement. He said the diocese would "prefer not to go to arbitration."

"We're not going to settle quickly and not get that school its due," he said. "We believe we have an obligation to get the appropriate settlement based on our loss in this scenario."

Dupont said the diocese has contracted with CBT Architects and Design Group of Boston to prepare some initial design work, but that can only go "so far" without a settlement figure. Crucial to the redesign is the estimate for replacement of the school's auditorium and gymnasium, both of which have been deemed a total loss as a result of the storm. Though originally designed in the 1950s, Dupont said it is believed much of the academics area could be reconfigured for reuse.

Once the diocese has an amount, he said they can "spring into action" to get plans for rebuilding Cathedral underway.

He thanked the Cathedral families for making a "good faith pledge" to the school while the dioceses works with the insurers and makes plans to rebuild.

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