Hillcrest Forest Neighborhood Association
Serving over 1,400 Homes in North Dallas
NOTE: THE LATEST INFORMATION AS AT THE BOTTOM -
May, 2005. St. Alcuin School on Churchill Way bought the Akiba Academy property next door. St.
Alcuin removed the existing Akiba building and added the property to their existing facility.
- Total enrollment at the two schools was in excess of 800 combined. St. Alcuin capped future
enrollment at 700, which meant a potential reduction in traffic on Churchill Way and other
- Two entrance/exits on Churchill Way were eliminated, reducing the number of places that
traffic was slowing down to enter or leave the property.
- Akiba's permit entitled them to 300 students of any age, which could have been 300 high school
age (although they were not using it that way). St. Alcuin added a condition that limited them to
a maximum of 35 students in grades 10 through 12 combined. This was for a possible
baccalaureate program in the future, although they stated that they had no current plans to do
that. They said that there will be no high school.
- A traffic management plan was implemented and a traffic manager appointed at St. Alcuin to
help minimize traffic issues.
St. Alcuin held a number of meetings with neighbors and neighborhood groups to address various
concerns, and an agreement was reached and subsequently approved by the City.
2006. St. Alcuin acquired an older home next door, on a deep lot between the school property and
the residential subdivision to the east. This lot was incorporated into the St. Alcuin site. A revised
site plan was approved by the city in March, 2007.
You can view a copy of the 2007 site plan here. (Revised since then, but not on the city web site.)
You can view a copy of the 2007 Traffic Management Plan here.
2008. St. Alcuin filed for a Minor Amendment to their zoning, requesting (1) new classrooms and
play structures, (2) revised off-street parking areas, and (3) revised drives.
Attached to the request was a new development/landscape plan which also allowed for the removal of
lawns and mature trees in front of the school. Changes to their landscape plan were not stated in the
request, but the new development/landscape plan was included in the approval of the other items by
the City Plan Commission.
2009. St. Alcuin began the process of adding parking in the front and was about to remove the lawns
and trees. Neighbors asked St. Alcuin to reconsider the removal of so many trees, which was
published in a local newspaper article on June 19. St. Alcuin declined.
2013, January. St. Alcuin applied to the city to amend their zoning, to increase the high school
enrollment cap from 35 students to 150 students. You can view a copy of that application here.
St. Alcuin hosted a neighborhood meeting at the school on January 8, 2013, to discuss the application
and answer questions. Some points from the meeting:
Head of School, Walter Sorensen, said that St. Alcuin has been there for nearly 50 years. The
purpose of their request is to (a) allow for an International Baccalaureate program, and (b) allow St.
Alcuin students to finish their education there. Many students and parents would like to stay longer.
The current cap of 35 high school students only allows 11 students per grade, which is not practical.
The International Baccalaureate program is an elite, nationally-recognized college prep program. In
Newsweek magazine, 6 of the Top 10 high schools in America were I.B. schools.
St. Alcuin has not asked to increase their cap of 700 total students (current enrollment is about
500). They just want to change the "mix" to allow students to continue through high school.
Neighbors expressed numerous concerns, including:
- Churchill Way cannot stand any more traffic.
- The green traffic light at Churchill & Preston is not long enough, causing backups.
- Adding High school students could mean 100 more drivers.
- Teenage drivers would be dangerous on neighborhood streets.
- Emergency access is already impaired when traffic is backed up on Churchill Way.
- Sometimes parents park across the street in the morning rather than waiting in line at the school.
- Jewish pedestrians are more at risk if there is more traffic.
- If they add high school students, it might lead to construction of another building.
- The school should find a better location.
- Before such a request is considered, they should first address the traffic problem.
Information from Mr. Sorensen and school representative Bill Dahlstrom:
- The school has explored relocating, but suitable properties are almost impossible to find in
Dallas today; they love the neighborhood; and they feel that the presence of a private school of
this caliber is an asset to our neighborhood.
- The school has plenty of queuing space for autos on-site and have police directing traffic.
- They are not the only cause of traffic on Churchill Way, and have staggered their schedules
both among their own grades and with the Dallas International School to spread the times that
autos are arriving and leaving.
- They will approach the city about increasing the amount of green light time for Churchill Way
at Preston, allowing more autos through.
- They offered to approach the city about widening Churchill Way, but most neighbors said they
did not want that.
- They originally had the rights to over 800 students, including the Akiba Academy, but lowered
it to 700 in 2005, which reduced potential future traffic.
- They reiterated that traffic is tied to student count, and they are not asking for an increase in
student count (and therefore car trips per day to & from the school). They will stay within the
700 students that they are currently allowed. They stated that a high school student who drives
into the school once in the morning and leaves once in the afternoon constitutes only half as many
auto trips in & out as a parent dropping off a younger student in the morning, leaving, returning
to pick them up in the afternoon, and leaving again.
- They already have enough facility space for the 700 students they are allowed, and although
they might do some interior renovations, they will not need another building.
- They understand the neighborhood concerns and might look at limiting the number of students
who have cars, possibly to those with the highest grade point average, or to seniors only. Non-
driving students would be dropped off and picked up by parents.
- Their goal is to come up with solutions and they want to discuss this in more detail with the
On January 14, St. Alcuin postponed their public hearing at the City Plan Commission to a
date to be determined later, to allow them to meet with neighbors and explore alternatives.
The hearing would be at 1:30 p.m. in the City Council chamber on the 6th floor of City Hall.
The CPC is an advisory body to the City Council (which will make the final decision), and
regardless of their recommendation, a second public hearing would be held before the City
Council at a later date. Public comment is accepted at both hearings.
|St. Alcuin Montessori School