"In 2009, the Franciscan Academy was taken over by Lourdes University to create a better standing for both schools along with more opportunities for the Lourdes University College of Education."
Many in the Sylvania community were outraged upon hearing that the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University will be closing at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. After decades of providing a prestigious private education, the outrage is understandable. I would like to first note that it is not the job of The Vitruvian to make a decision on who is right and wrong in the situation, if sides must be taken at all. The Vitruvian has heard the cries of the parents and students at the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University. The Vitruvian has also seen the deep despair that the closing of the Franciscan Academy has caused faculty, staff, and especially the Sisters of St. Francis that are involved with Lourdes University. Not a single person will come out on top with the closing of the Franciscan Academy; however, sometimes unfortunate events must occur to promote sustainability.
Around ten years ago, the building on 5335 Silica Drive was built to provide the students at the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University a place all their own. Previously, the school had been housed on the Lourdes University campus alongside college students. In 2009, the Franciscan Academy was taken over by Lourdes University to create a better standing for both schools along with more opportunities for the Lourdes University College of Education. Over the next three years, Lourdes University consistently reevaluated the sustainability of the Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University. Unfortunately, after hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested and enrollment rates began dropping, Lourdes University decided that it is no longer sustainable to keep the doors of the Franciscan Academy open. Thus, over 200 students, faculty, and staff will lose the school that they love.
According to Lourdes President, Dr. David Livingston, "For the university, we had to look at how is this central to the Lourdes University mission?" Unfortunately, it was decided that the Franciscan Academy was not in the core mission of Lourdes University: "Today we wouldn't have started an academy," stated Livingston in an interview, adding that "It is an excellent school, but can we maintain that?" According to predictions by the Toledo Diocese, the enrollment of students in Catholic K-8 schools will continue to decrease in upcoming years. In response to these predicted numbers, Livingston stated, "We're going out on top." Everyone involved in the decision process has made it well known that closing the Franciscan Academy was a very difficult choice and was made with regret; however, there is no option for it to remain open. The one thing the Lourdes Community can hold on to is the fact that the Franciscan Academy did in fact come out on top.