queen of peace demolition

In 2017, Queen of Peace signed off after 55 years in Burbank as a Catholic all-girls high school. AERO Special Education Cooperative now owns the property, and officials said the school buildings are being demolished to make way for a new facility for students with special needs. (Review file photo)

The owners of the property that was the site of Queen of Peace High School plan to raze the building to make way for new construction that will better suit the needs of their clients.

AERO Special Education Cooperative, which provides services for students with special needs from several southwest suburbs, began demolition of the former all-girls Catholic high school in Burbank on Oct. 14.

In an online statement, AERO Executive Director of Special Education James Gunnell said his organization plans “to build a new state-of-art special-education facility.”

He said the existing buildings “cannot be renovated to meet the vast physical needs of AERO students,” and “AERO intends to build a new special-education facility [that] will allow us to enhance the services that we deliver to the most vulnerable students in our communities.”

Queen of Peace, 7659 S. Lindner Ave., closed in June 2017 after 55 years. Administrators cited declining enrollment and financial struggles for the closure.

AERO purchased the property, which is about 14 acres, in August 2018.

AERO works with Argo, Evergreen Park, Reavis and Oak Lawn high schools along with their feeder elementary districts.

Gunnell said demolition will continue through April 30.

He hopes the process runs smoothly.

“The AERO administration will be working closely with our architect and contractors to create the least disruptive situation possible,” Gunnell said. “The safety of the Burbank community is the highest priority for the AERO Special Education Cooperative as we proceed through the demolition phase of this project.”

As Queen of Peace prepared to close, St. Laurence High School, its neighboring all-boys Catholic school, announced it would admit female students effective in 2017-18. Many Queen of Peace students transferred to St. Laurence.