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Hernando planning commission grants permit for traditional Catholic school

Published May 10, 2017

BROOKSVILLE — Another phase of development was approved this week by the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission for a swath of property off Spring Lake Highway that houses a religious community of Catholics.

Planning commissioners gave their unanimous support to grant a special exception use permit to the St. Aloysius Mission Association to construct a private school on 16.5 acres at Spring Lake Highway and Dallas Drive. A one-story school will be constructed on the site and will consist of classrooms and an auditorium, according to the application.

The building will be approximately 7,000 square feet. Access will be available from a private drive that extends east to the project from Dallas Drive.

The new construction will allow Queen of All Saints Academy, currently on Barnett Road in Brooksville, to move near the planned convent for the Sisters of St. Thomas Aquinas, which was approved in late 2015. Sisters from that order teach at Queen of All Saints.

The association adheres to beliefs based on religious doctrines from before the Vatican II reforms of the Roman Catholic Church.

According to Bruce Carpenter, the adjacent landowner who represented the association for both the convent and the school applications, the convent is going through its final permitting phases, and he said he anticipated agency reviews in the next couple of months.

Queen of All Saints was founded in 2003 by the Rev. Joseph Selway, who still teaches at the school and serves at Most Holy Trinity Seminary, which is on the same site southeast of Brooksville, but to the north of where the nearly 20,000-square-foot convent is slated to be built. Plans for that facility, at Spring Lake Highway and Rosecrans Street, include two phases. When completed, there will be a two-story structure that includes room for 34 residents, a chapel and a classroom on 16 acres.

Queen of All Saints, the traditional Catholic school, boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 4 to 1. According to the school's website, "at the Academy, the faculty and the parents understand that education is not the mere presentation of useful information; rather it is the intense act of molding the child's intellect and will so that he has both a firm grasp of the supernatural and natural truth, and the moral ability to lead a life in accordance with the commandments of God.''

The school currently has 28 students enrolled and eight staff members.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at bbehrendt@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1434.

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