Plans for Brecksville Julie Billiart School move forward

by Melissa Martin

Nov. 3 planning commission meeting

The Brecksville planning commission has approved a conditional use permit to enable Julie Billiart Schools to open a school on the former campus of Chippewa Elementary School.

The permit is required because the school is in a residential zoning district. The commission approved the permit 6-0 Nov. 3 following a public hearing. No residents commented or questioned the proposal.

“[Julie Billiart Schools] bring a great service to our community,” Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby said. “Our school district is very excited to have them in our community.”

Lannie Davis-Frecker, president and CEO of Julie Billiart, said her organization provides instruction to children in kindergarten through eighth grade from 35 area school districts. These students have learning challenges ranging from autism, anxiety and dyslexia to attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.

Davis-Frecker said Julie Billiart, which has schools in Lyndhurst, Westlake and Akron, is expanding into Brecksville because it has a waiting list.

“The property is beautiful,” Davis-Frecker said of the former Chippewa school building. “The footprint is wonderful. … We will simply do an interior renovation with our architects to make it more of a specially designed learning environment for our students.”

Davis-Frecker said Julie Billiart plans to open the Brecksville campus to grades K-4 in fall 2024 and to grades 5-8 in fall 2025.

“We are so grateful that our students are going to have a home here and that we can add something to your vibrant and lovely community as well,” she said.

Julie Billiart Schools agreed to purchase Chippewa Elementary for $1.3 million. The sale was expected to be finalized Nov. 30.