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      Franciscan Academy of Lourdes University to close at end of academic year

      Lourdes cited financial concerns as one of the reasons they will close the K-8 school on campus at the end of this school year.

      Lourdes University issued a press release on Tuesday announcing plans to close the Franciscan Academy, a Catholic primary school in Sylvania, at the end of the current academic year.

      School officials say the decision will affect 172 students in grades K through 8th grade, as well as 23 full-time and 14 part-time staff.

      The press release said that Lourdes and the Sisters of St. Francis were unified in the decision to close the Academy and cited the school??s financial and enrollment challenges as reasons for the closure.

      In 2009, Lourdes took over operations of the Franciscan Academy from the Sisters of St. Francis.

      However, Lourdes officials says despite investing more than half a million dollars in the operation of the Academy and implementing a series of marketing and educational initiatives, none of the measures were sufficient in solidifying the schools sustainable future.

      ??While the Franciscan Academy has been a great success in providing a first-rate education and has produced some of the highest achieving students in northwest Ohio, we have found that the cost to sustain this level of excellence is not economically feasible at this time,?? Lourdes University President Dr. David Livingston said.

      The University added, in its statement, that enrollment at the Academy has also seen fluctuations over the years and anticipates a downward trajectory for Catholic K-8 education throughout the region.

      ??Based on what we know regarding enrollment in our area and the reports that have been done specifically on Catholic primary education, Lourdes believes that keeping the Academy open is also not viable in terms of future enrollment. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to close the school at the end of the academic year. Though it is an outstanding place of learning, our ultimate focus is on providing a quality university education and ensuring the success of our Lourdes students,?? Dr. Livingston added.

      Prior to Tuesday's public announcement, Lourdes' administrators say they met with staff and parents of students attending the Franciscan Academy, to answer questions and provide resources to both populations.

      So far, no future plans for the Franciscan Academy building at 5335 Silica Dr. have been made.

      The property is owned by the Sisters of St. Francis, and future plans for the facility will lie with the Sisters.