The benefits of the new Lourdes High School

This note was sent to me by Tim Sitzer of the Lourdes Foundation.  He provides some of the benefits of the new Lourdes High School.  While I agree with many of the benefits, I struggle how to see how we could allow one neighborhood to be hurt to benefit another.  Without guidelines in place Kutzky Park is clearly at risk of being hurt.  I can’t say enough good things about the Remicks’ generosity and the quality of education at Lourdes, but I also represent Kutzky Park.

Tim’s note:

Rochester City Council Members, I am Tim Sitzer, Executive Director of Lourdes Foundation. I am contacting you about the vacation of 1st Ave. NW – between 6th & 7th Ave. NW, it is the street that separates the two blocks that are currently for sale. The Lourdes Foundation owns about 75% of the north block, which is used for student parking. Our ownership represents 35% of the total property that is for sale. Without getting into a lot of history, Lourdes Foundation is a separate entity from Lourdes High School and was started in 1974. Our role with Lourdes High School is as follows. Our Mission Lourdes Foundation’s mission is to attract, manage and channel philanthropic resources to ensure a vital Catholic education at LHS. We assist with: • Tuition assistance (almost 20% of Lourdes families qualify) • Faculty enrichments • Supporting the alumni association • Ensuring a vital Catholic education at LHS.

We need your Help We are asking the city for a vacation of 1st St NW between sixth and seventh Aves. The street is currently a one-way street and has been for about 12+ years. Lourdes High School has maintained the street for all of those years. Lourdes Foundation purchased the north block over a span of a few years in the early nineties, with the intention, that if LHS would expand and needed space in the future, this block would be available for that expansion.

As you know, LHS/Rochester Catholic Schools have been the beneficiaries of a very gracious and generous gift of 25 acres of land in the demographic center of our city in NW Rochester by Jack & Maryanne Remick. It will provide ‘green space” for the first time in Lourdes history for the students. This new High School will be a remarkable community asset when completed. There will not be another High School campus like it in the mid-west. To compliment the new campus and just adjacent to the new High School will be the new Cascade Meadow Wetlands built by Mr. Remick. A 110 acre restored wetland complete with a state of the art LEED science center, an 8-10 acre lake, a restored prairie with native plants, trees and hiking trails and available to all. This is not a dream for the future – Cascade Meadow Wetlands is here, the science building is completed, (many of you have toured the building already), the lake has been dredged, prairie restoration has already begun – this will be a community jewel that will serve the citizens of our community well into the future! Walking out the front door of the Cascade Meadows Wetland science building will be the new High School campus with its 650-seat Fine Arts auditorium, gymnasiums, practice fields, library, conference spaces, music rooms, a 150 seat open forum, chapel and state of the art classrooms.

Moreover, as the Lourdes community does now and will continue to do, it will open these spaces to our Rochester community. In the Public’s Interest The economic impact of this project is immense and far-reaching. The Rochester Area Economic Development study has already been completed and they have determined that this proposed $35 million dollar expenditure for construction would create the following impacts: • $16 million dollars of additional indirect and induced economic output • $5.3 million dollars of local, state, and federal taxes • 450 jobs in the Rochester community will be supported through construction, paying over $20 million dollars in wages • Construction of a new Lourdes High School will generate an additional $51 million dollars of total economic output • In the approx. 18 – 20 months of construction, RCS will generate over $75 million dollars of economic activity and support nearly 750 Rochester jobs This long awaited, futuristic new High School will be a community asset for the city of Rochester and will touch many of its citizens and serve the citizens of Rochester for many, many years.

Not only will the Rochester community be receiving a new High School located in the demographic center of our city and funded privately, but also at the same time, new jobs will be created, stimulating our local economy with tens of millions of dollars and is without question, in the public interest. Simply stated, we need your support. Vacation of 1st St between sixth & seventh Aves will help us to market and sell the current Lourdes property. It will increase its value. It is no secret that selling the property at its highest price is a huge part of our process and success, .we are not shying away from that fact. Obviously, those funds will be used to help start construction. Vacation of this street, which amounts to just over 20,000 sq, ft. to help us market and sell this property at its highest value, to gain for the city of Rochester, a new High School and a huge community asset on 25 acres of land, is what we are asking you to consider.

Economic Summary Rochester Catholic Schools produces $16.7 million dollars of total economic output, supports 306 jobs and generates $2.2 million dollars of local, state, and federal taxes on an annual basis. Construction of a new Lourdes High School will generate an additional $51 million dollars of total economic output, almost 450 jobs and $5.3 million dollars in sales and payroll taxes for local, state, and federal. Therefore, in the 18- 20 months of construction Rochester Catholic Schools will generate over $75 million dollars of economic activity and support nearly 750 Rochester jobs. Thank you so much for listening to our concerns. Best regards, Tim Sitzer Executive Director, Lourdes Foundation

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