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Neighbors Weigh In On Loretto Heights Future

DENVER (CBS4) - You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has a closer connection to Loretto Heights than Sister Mary Nelle Gage. The nun went to school there from 1962 until 1966 and now sits on the Spirit of Loretto Committee.

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Sister Mary Nelle Gage (credit: CBS)

"The joy that we learned, the joy in each other, the joy of achieving were some of the most fond memories I have that I carry as treasures," she told CBS4'S Dominic Garcia.

Tuesday night, the City of Denver organized a community meeting on the campus to get the community's input on what they'd like to see. City officials say they plan to present that information to the developer, Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners, that now owns the land.

"For 130 years this has been a private college and private property. Now it's going to be open to everybody and how we want to use that is what this meeting is all about," said Dever City Councilman Kevin FLynn.

Flynn says the developer has expressed interest in making part of the property residential, but what that would look like and what that would mean for existing buildings on campus is still up in the air.

The Loretto Heights property dates back 130 years when it was purchased by the Sisters of Loretto in 1888. It served as the Loretto Heights Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls. One hundred years later, it was sold to Teikyo University and then to Westside Investments Partners, Inc.

One worry Sister Mary Nelle Gage has is the cemetery at the north end of the property, which is the final resting place for 62 nuns.

"Some from the pioneer days when we first came to Colorado from New Mexico in 1864," she told CBS4.

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(credit: CBS)

Flynn says the cemetery is here to stay and would also like to see the theater on campus stay put. Sister Mary Nelle Gage knows some change is coming, but wants to make sure future generations know what made this place so special.

"It's troubling in the sense that you don't want to see what is so important be lost or forgotten," said the sister.

The building, full of intricate designs, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

LINK: Community Planning Meetings About Loretto Heights

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