Ellicott Development Co. received support from the Buffalo Planning Board Monday for its proposal to renovate the former St. Valentine's Roman Catholic Church and a neighboring commercial building near the Old First Ward into the new home for the Buffalo Creek Academy Charter School.
The Buffalo firm plans to redevelop the two buildings at 514-528 South Park Ave. in two phases, starting with the church itself, which will become the new charter school's main building, with nine classrooms, a gym, a library and administrative offices.
Those renovations are expected to be completed this summer, in time for the start of the next school year in September.
The second phase will reuse the commercial building, which will become additional classrooms, offices and storage space. A white house in between them was already demolished, making room for a new one-way drop-off and pick-up area for students, with buses and cars entering from South Park and exiting onto Alabama Street.
The current entrance of the church will be converted into an elevated garden with the school's name on it, while the entry will be shifted around the corner.
The project requires only minor administrative site plan approval from the city, not the Planning Board.
But Ellicott and Buffalo Creek Academy needed the board's backing for a special-use permit from the Common Council to reuse the church for a school.