The Calgary Board of Education has filed a statement of defence against a lawsuit initiated earlier this month by residents of Varsity Acres who want to stop a new special needs school from being built in their neighbourhood.

The 30 people named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit want to block the Christine Meikle School from being built on a green space in their community.

And they argue that building the special needs school would reduce the value of their homes.

The board said it filed its statement of defence on Tuesday but it did not provide details of its case. It’s hosting an open house on Sept. 17 to show the latest concept drawings and plans for the school.

The current Christine Meikle School in Bridgeland is in a 55-year-old building that is not suitable for students with complex special education needs, the board says.

“The hallways and rooms are not large enough for the equipment and wheelchairs used by the students,” the board’s website says.

The Meikle school caters to secondary school-age students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities and complex learning, medical and emotional needs.

The board says the site west of 50th Street and north of Varna Crescent N.W is suitable partly because of its proximity to the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The site had been designated for a school since 1971, however in 2007 the CBE declared it surplus to its needs, according to the board’s website.

But in 2012 the board got the city’s approval to re-designate the site for a school as planning got underway for a new Meikle school.