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Bonita neighbors prepare to sue over new school

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BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- The Lee County School Board is expected to vote Tuesday in favor of purchasing land off Imperial Parkway to build a new Bonita Springs high school.

Although the superintendent says the location is the best choice and it’s also been favored by selection committees, neighbors disagree.

“As sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow morning and setting in the west, they’re voting for the Imperial site,” said Charles Yanni who lives across the street from the proposed location. “They have been going to the Imperial site since January 27th of this year when Superintendent Adkins made his recommendation. There is no question in my mind.”

Yanni has attended numerous school board meetings to oppose the site. He says safety concerns and recent asbestos worries are issues the school board is not taking seriously. Yanni believes the other possible location, on Bonita Grande Drive, is a much better option.

“There’s a real danger to the students here. The other site is more pristine. It is clean, there are no environmental issues,” Yanni said.

Yanni and 150 other neighbors from the Hawthorne community have formed a group and hired a lawyer, preparing to sue the school district if they approve building the school on Imperial Parkway.

“We think the whole process has been misguided and unfair,” said Dan Troup. “Our neighborhood does have a few children. For the most part it is older, retired people who have chosen to live here and that might likely change with a high school next door.”

“We will not accept the final decision. If a court and judge tells us this is the right decision we will accept it,” Yanni said. “But not a school board and not a bunch of its employees who we question their integrity and honesty.”

Neighbors plan to meet with their lawyer this week to discuss litigation. The school board is expected to vote Tuesday evening.