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Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2007 | I am a bit mystified by the absurdity of the fight between the Academy of Our Lady of Peace and the neighbors. I lived one-half block away from the school last year and have a daughter who is a senior at the Academy. So I have witnessed both sides of the argument first hand.
As a sane, rational adult I cannot understand the attitudes of the [few] vocal neighbors. The school has been at its present location longer than any of the neighborhood residents. When the neighbors moved into the neighborhood surrounding a high school — whether it was 650 or 750 students — did they really think that there would be no traffic problems or driving or noise issues?
It seems the neighbors are confused as to what exactly they are upset about. It is widely known that Dan Sullivan has been distressed about the property directly next to his. His property value will go down should they put up a parking garage. Other neighbors were grumbling about the fact that kids park in front of the houses and the school’s need for a parking garage. Again, where did the neighbors think the kids would park when they purchased their homes? Is forcing the school to eliminate 100 students going to make a bit of difference? Minimal, if at all. So then, what is the real issue?
A school that has been in existence for 125 years — before the car was invented, before the television was invented, before penicillin for Pete’s sake — has got to expand with the times. New technology and advancements in sciences require a school that can keep up with it.And to say that the school should not, does not, need to expand is short sighted and obtuse. Unfortunately, if this were a public school, the neighbors would not stop progress. The city would go on as planned and have no need to defend their position or ask for permission. New homes go up daily and new schools to match the demands of the area. The Academy is not asking anything unreasonable. However, it is unfortunate that is has to bear the hostility of the neighbors because it is a private institution.