Wednesday, January 12, 2005

P&Z endorses school's classroom expansion plans

Express Staff Writer

The decision came easily for the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission to unanimously approve a design review application for The Community School. The application for classroom additions to the private Sun Valley school provided an opportunity for the commission to preview the master development plan for the Trail Creek campus and to address the school's parking problem.

"In the overall master plan we are touching almost every building," Lori Labrum, The Community School project manager, said.

The commission considered the first phase of the changes calling for classroom additions to the Elementary and Middle Schools at the Tuesday, Jan. 11 meeting.

The Elementary School addition extends the first and second floor classrooms eight feet to the East and West sides of the building. The Middle School addition adds a second story classroom over the existing seventh grade classroom. The additions are slated to begin in June.

The improvements are part of a larger master plan slated for the Trail Creek campus that include remodeling the existing science building and demolishing the existing library and administrative building to make way for a new upper school and library facility.

At the recent meeting, Ketchum-based architect Michael Doty presented architectural plans depicting additions to the Elementary and Middle Schools that match the existing architecture of the buildings. Doty's proposed color scheme moves away from the existing monochromatic color selection.

"We thought it might be fun to change the color pallet," Doty said.

Responding to Doty's proposed color changes, Chairman Phil Usher responded, "You still retain the campus feel, if you will, but each building has its own identity."

Changes to the campus met inquiry from Commissioner Ken Herich, who questioned why the school was doing the remodel.

Labrum responded that the additions accommodate the existing student body and are independent of the Sagewillow campus.

"The improvements we are making on this campus do not duplicate or prohibit Sagewillow," Labrum stated.

The application for the classroom additions met the commission's approval, but directed concern to the life safety issues presented by the lack of parking. A memo written by Fire Chief Jeff Carnes indicated the inability of emergency vehicles to access the school because of parking issues.

"(Parking) is really the underlying issue. It's been there awhile. Here is the opportunity to address it," Usher said.

Labrum indicated negotiations are underway between the school and Sun Valley Company for addition parking space. Current efforts to mitigate the parking problem currently include faculty carpools and pick up programs.

Commissioner John Gaeddert made a motion to approve the design review application with the condition that the school and the Sun Valley police and fire department devise a life safety management plan concerning parking prior to issuing a building permit.

Commissioner Joan Lamb did not attend the meeting

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