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Legal Squabbles Continue For University Building Project

SCRANTON — An ongoing court battle continued Monday in Lackawanna County as attorneys argued whether or not a building belonging to the University of Scranton should be torn down.

A decision was not made on this court battle between the university and the city’s zoning board over Leahy Hall. The school wants to tear it down and build a rehabilitation center.

U OF S REHAB CENTER DIGITAL IMAGE

Digital image of proposed University of Scranton building

Leahy Hall is located on the University of Scranton campus at the corner of Linden Street and Jefferson Avenue. It has been around for more than a century. The former YWCA was constructed in 1907, but now, could be coming down.

The University of Scranton hopes to build an eight-story building in the same place for a new $47.5 million rehabilitation center.

“Demolition is a process that very well may take three or four weeks. Following that, I’m sure that they would like to start construction as soon as possible,” said University of Scranton attorney Patrick Lavelle.

The university received the go-ahead to tear down the building last month from city council. Everything was ready to go until the zoning board rejected their application.

Attorneys for the zoning board are arguing that by putting a new building where Leahy Hall is right now could mean more students in this area and more students could mean more safety concerns at a busy intersection.

“The biggest concern is the safety issue, increased student traffic at that intersection. It’s a busy intersection,” said zoning board attorney Dan Penetar.

The attorney representing the University of Scranton says evidence from PennDOT engineers shows that the intersection hasn’t been a trouble spot in the past.

“The records of accidents that occurred on Linden Street during the last five years, he reported that not one accident occurred at any intersection, either Crescent Court and Linden or Jefferson and Linden.”

Both attorneys tell Newswatch 16 that the intersection is a busy one but for students who walk up and down these roads daily, they say a new building wouldn’t be an issue.

“Theres already a decent amount of students that come through this area all the time, with Highland, McGurrin Hall where I have my classes. I don’t really see it being a big issue,” said Michael Goonan.

The judge did not make a decision on what’s next whether or not he will overturn the zoning boards ruling. He also did not comment on when he plans to make his decision.


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