Wednesday, March 12, 2014

P&Z gives nod to new school building

Community School plan now goes to Sun Valley City Council

Express Staff Writer

The proposed new middle-school building at the Community School in Sun Valley would be about 20,000 square feet.
Courtesy graphic

    The Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday unanimously approved the Community School’s plans to demolish its current middle school and replace it with a new middle school and creative arts building that will be twice as large.
    The design-review application states that the existing two-story, 9,376 square-foot building will be replaced with a two-story, 20,500-square-foot facility for the middle school and creative arts program.
    “This building would essentially double the square footage that’s available and make best use of the campus,” architect Susan Olmstead said. “It will provide a lot of important functions that the school has needed for quite some time now.”
    The P&Z also approved a master plan application filed by the private school near Sun Valley Resort. The plan contains an extensive guide for the school’s development to meet the institution’s growing enrollment needs.
    Both the application for the new middle school and approval of the master plan will be reviewed by the City Council.
    Phase 1 of the master plan consists of demolition and rebuilding of the Dumke Middle School building, a remodel of existing Engl Hall, a new 1,400-square-foot teaching greenhouse, accessory storage structures and temporary classroom structures to be used for the duration of construction and then removed from the site.

It will provide a lot of important functions that the school has needed for quite some time now.”
Susan Olmstead

    The proposed building height is 34 feet, 6 inches—just under the 35 feet allowed in the zone.
    Construction of the first phase is scheduled to begin this summer. Community School Director of Communications Kate Wutz said the project is estimated to cost $7.5 million.
    “This project will be a transformative project for our entire school community,” Head of School David Holmes said. “It will benefit each student in our elementary school, middle school and upper school. Though we are still in the planning stages, we are excited for what a project like this could mean for the Community School and our ability to accommodate the school’s current students and future growth.”    
    Future phases of the master plan include a new dining and gathering hall, replacement of the elementary school classroom space and parking.
    In an agenda report on the master plan, Community Development Director Mark Hofman noted that the school submitted a parking study. The study concluded that there is sufficient parking available on campus to accommodate the demand for Phase 1. Parking management and reduction standards call for alternative transportation options including bicycle transportation, shuttles and licensed student driver policies. Hofman also wrote those reduction efforts should be sufficient to offset an estimated one space shortage.
    In a report on the design of the new middle school, Hofman said the plan conforms to the regulations of the Public Institution zoning district. He also said the proposed design does not significantly impact the natural, scenic character and aesthetic value of the surrounding hills, a standard contained in the city’s comprehensive plan.
    The project is expected to be reviewed by the City Council on Thursday, April 3.
Eric Avissar:

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