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Published: Thursday, 2/17/2005

Panel OKs design for new St. Joseph elementary school

A design for a new elementary school for St. Joseph Church was approved yesterday at a meeting of the Sylvania Architectural Review Commission.

In addition to classrooms, the building will have meeting rooms, a gymnasium, and a community room, according to the plans submitted to the commission.

The building, across Main Street from the church, will house grades 6 through 8. The current school building on the main campus will have the lower elementary grades.

The design will use some of the property where the Lathrop House stood before that structure was moved last summer.

The church bought the property in October, 2001. The purchase set in motion a lengthy political and legal fight about moving the house, reportedly once a haven for runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Voters sided with the church in a November, 2003, election, and the house was moved slightly to the east and north from its original location. It is to be refurbished by the Toledo Area Metroparks.

Members of the commission yesterday suggested that church officials be mindful of the additional traffic the new school will generate and of possible noise problems for neighbors.

Jim Floyd, business manager for the parish, said a traffic study is under way. He added that the church "wants to be a good neighbor" to those who live nearby.

Because the site is zoned appropriately for the school, no other public bodies will review the plans.

The city administration will oversee any potential problems with traffic, drainage, or similar issues.

Mr. Floyd said plans call for construction to begin this summer.

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