Christian private school Coram Deo Academy will have to continue looking for a permanent home for its Dallas campus after its request for a special permit to relocate to Richardson was denied.

Despite garnering approval from the Richardson Plan Commission in March, City Council denied the school’s plans to renovate the Binnerri Presbyterian Church, located at 1301 Abrams Road, into a pre-K through 12th grade academy for up to nearly 800 students at its April 22 meeting.

The background

John Jordan, headmaster at Coram Deo Academy’s Dallas campus, said the academy has looked at numerous properties over the last five years that could accommodate its growth.

With around 480 students at its Dallas campus, which is housed in Temple Shalom in Dallas, Coram Deo hoped to grow that headcount to nearly 800 over the next eight years at the proposed Richardson location.

Plans presented to council included adding vestibules, a storm shelter and a playground to the church, in addition to renovations to classroom, office and auditorium spaces.

“We wanted to put roots down for the sake of our campus and for the sake of the neighbors around our campus to use a permanent school facility as a method of teaching our students what it means to be a good neighbor,” Jordan said at the meeting. “Of all the properties we visited, this one has stood out most to have that capacity.”

Coram Deo also has campuses in Plano and Flower Mound.

What happened

At the April 22 meeting, council members denied Coram Deo’s request in a 5-1 vote.

Much of the discussion surrounding the denial had to do with concerns about increased traffic, limiting the use and desirability of future developments in the area, and the potential of the school drawing students aways from Richardson ISD, which is facing financial issues due to a lack of state funding and declining enrollment.

“There is an opportunity for some huge development in that area, if we lose that ... it’s going to be a lost opportunity,” council member Arefin Shamsul said at the meeting. “We’ve waited for development for so many years, and I think we can wait a little longer.”