Guest Column: Public invited to review school's master plan

I welcome this opportunity to connect with you and update you on Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's proposed master plan project, which will bring much-needed improvements to our campus' aging facilities. As we evaluated our current curricular offerings and set future goals for our program, we identified needed improvements to our facilities to ensure a high-quality academic experience for our students. Our thoughtfully crafted master plan addresses our goals for educating today's 21st century students.

The academy places great value in our relationship with the community where we have been located for 81 years. It is important to us that while we improve ourselves we also ensure that our neighbors are considered in all of our efforts. Since we first shared our master plan in November 2011, we have held several meetings with our neighbors and have learned a great deal during this time.

We are encouraged by the many positive comments we received on our plan, but a common concern that we have heard has to do with traffic on the hill. In response, we have been evaluating ways in which we as a school can reduce vehicle trips on the hill. To that end, we have developed a Transportation Demand Management Plan that will dramatically and permanently reduce traffic trips to and from our campus by at least 40% from current volume. This plan, which consists of busing and carpooling, will require mandatory participation from our students and families. We are confident that this will result in an effective and measurable reduction in traffic in all directions on the hill. We look forward to sharing specific details on our transportation management plan with our neighbors in the coming days.

As part of the city of La Cañada Flintridge's review, the city is preparing an environmental impact report for the project, which will study the various potential environmental impacts of our project. Earlier this week, the city issued a “Notice of Preparation,” which is the first step in the EIR process. In addition, the city will host a public meeting, which is an opportunity for the public to provide comments on environmental issues that should be studied in the EIR. We look forward to this process moving ahead, and we encourage your participation. A draft EIR is expected to be circulated in the next few months, at which time the public will have an opportunity to review and submit comments on the document.

We are also aware that there have been recent questions about our specific plan application, the size of our project and school operations. We encourage you to visit our project website at to learn more about our master plan and find answers to these frequently asked questions. FSHA will also host an open house for the community from 6 to 8 tonight, and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 9, which will include a guided tour of our campus. The open houses will be held in our auditorium, and we invite you to attend to learn about the project. Please bring your questions and we will provide the answers. If you prefer to receive information in another manner, or would like an in-person meeting, contact us at (626) 685-8557 or at masterplaninfo@

Our conversations with the community have provided us with a tremendous opportunity to carefully review our proposal and identify ways in which we can incorporate the input we have received. We are committed to being a good neighbor and will continue this spirit of open communication and dialogue throughout the process.

I hope in the near future we have the opportunity to meet in person and visit regarding Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy's future.


SISTER CAROLYN McCORMACK, O.P., is president of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.

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