Relocation of two Catholic schools met with mixed reactions from community

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It’s out with the old and in with the new for two metro catholic schools. Our Lady of Angels and Our Lady of Guadalupe are relocating and will form a new elementary school on Armour Boulevard. The Catholic Diocese says it’s an upgrade for students, while others say it shuts the door on history.

Derrick Thomas Academy has been vacant since 2013 and come August it will be filled with hundreds of catholic metro students but not without major backlash of parents and teachers.

“It was like being punched in the gut.”

That’s how David Valdivia says he felt when he heard the news Our Lady of Guadalupe was closing.

Valdivia’s parents went to Our Lady of Guadalupe and so did he. He says it’s not just a school, but a staple in the community. While supporters of the move don’t want to leave behind history, they say they’re doing it for the future.

In August, 224 kids will begin school in the Derrick Thomas Academy’s building. With 90,000 square feet and four stories of a centrally located building, the group that raises money for schools in the diocese says it allows room for growth. Parents and teachers just don’t want to turn their back on tradition.

“We don't want to see that the building be razed or knocked down and, therefore, not giving us a chance to at least use it for the community. That would be the best thing to do for it, leave it there so it can still provide, for the community. As it has for the last 100 years,” Valdivia said.

“We're gonna preserve the legacies that are there. Our schools our institutions not buildings. Those memories and that spirit and that education for 100 years will still remain, it's just gonna be in a different location,” Director of the Bright Futures Fund Jeremy Lillig said.

School leaders say Our Lady of Guadalupe will not be torn down and will still be used by parishioners. School officials are giving the community a say in what to name the school with a poll in the next couple of weeks.