This is the presentation Bevan Wulfenstein gave at the Rivergrove Neighborhood Meeting May 9th, 2012:
Recently Freedom Academy announced its plans to extend its current campus to include a high school.
Freedom Academy Governing Board and School Administration listed 5
supporting reasons for the decision to build a high school next to the
existing grade school. In my experience the strongest arguments are
often listed last. Item 5 in the list states “If we don’t expand this
year, credibility of the school may be placed in jeopardy.” Following
this line of reasoning then the real motivating factor for the decision
was to not lose credibility. Making decisions to save face are usually
made by managers who feel out of control. They don’t want others to
think they are not in control or that they have made a mistake. As we
see in this case, decisions made to “save face” often just add fuel to
the fire. The emotional need to be right overtakes good business sense.
Academy director Lynne Herring recently said “Freedom is a member of
this neighborhood. We have no desire to foul our own nest.” I understand
the principle she articulates, but her actions are indeed fowling her
There are a number of reasons it makes no sense to build a high
school directly adjacent to a grade school. Most of these reasons have
been very well articulated. For me however, safety and quality of life
for both students and the neighborhood should take priority over
convenience or saving face by Freedom Academy Governing Board members
and the School Administration.
Safety: The existing infrastructure
was never designed to handle the current high traffic load already
imposed by Freedom Academy. The road isn’t wide enough to handle peak
demands resulting in long lines and frustrated residents and parents.
There have been a number of close calls where children were nearly run
Sidewalks don’t exist in some areas forcing kids to either walk on lawns on in the street.
There are no marked cross walks forcing kids to take their chances crossing roads at peak demand times.
Grade school kids are at risk from bullying and worse from high school kids located on the same campus.
of life: The neighborhood quality of life has suffered considerably
since Freedom Academy was built. Building a high school will further
diminish the quality of life in an already stressed neighborhood. As
neighbors we have tried to endure and make do, but we can’t be silent
Long lines of cars along 900 north and adjacent streets
twice a day are difficult to deal with. A high school and more students
will make the lines considerably worse.
Many kids take shortcuts across neighborhood lawns wearing trails though grass.
damage and theft has increased sharply since Freedom Academy became a
part of the neighborhood. We can only believe these problems will
increase again with the addition of a high school.
Please don’t make decisions to save face. . .or that foul your own nest. Find another location for the high school.