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For the week of May 15 - 21, 2002


Sun Valley P&Z hears Sagewillow school plan

150 show up to listen

Express Staff Writer

About 150 people, most of them wearing blue and white Community School ribbons, attended the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday morning.

Traffic engineer Mike Riggs, left, and architect Mark Cork describe the three phases of construction of the proposed Community School elementary campus during a site visit to the Sagewillow campus Tuesday morning. Express photos by Willy Cook

The meeting’s main attraction was a proposed elementary school to be built at The Community School’s Sagewillow campus in Elkhorn.

The 30-acre campus was donated to the school by the Dumke family in 1998.

The P&Z heard presentations from school officials and their planning team about the school’s applications for a conditional use permit and design review in the Sawtooth Room of the Elkhorn Resort.

The Sagewillow campus, located behind the Sun Valley/Elkhorn fire station on Arrowleaf Road, is zoned outdoor/recreational. Schools are one of the types of development allowed in the OR zone, with the approval of the city.

Despite the number of people in attendance, no public comment was taken.

The city deliberately split the public hearing into two meetings, May 14 and 28, because of time constraints.

Commission chair Jim McLaughlin told the audience that the first meeting would be devoted to hearing the school’s presentation, staff reports, and a site visit.

Sun Valley commissioners, Community School staff and the school’s development team pore over building plans at the school’s Sagewillow campus. The building behind them is the stable, which the school hopes to convert into administrative offices and classrooms for early childhood development. Express photos by Willy Cook

The meeting on May 28, also in the Sawtooth Room at 9 a.m., will be devoted to public comment and The Community School’s response to it.

The P&Z may also make its decision whether or not to recommend the applications at that meeting.

Architect Butch Reifert said construction would be in three phases.

The first phase would start sometime in September 2002 and end in August 2003. The existing indoor arena would be removed, the existing stable would be converted into an administration and early childhood development building.

In addition to refurbishing the stable, a new classroom building for grades one through five, an "eating and performance" building and a caretaker’s home would be constructed in the first phase.

Reifert said these buildings would add up to 22,139 square feet.

He said completion of this phase would have a population of 132 pupils from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade and 21 faculty and staff.

The second phase would start sometime in June 2007 and end in May 2008.

A second classroom building and a library would be built.

These buildings would add up to 12,650 square feet.

Phase three would begin in June 2012 and end in April 2013. The school would be adding another 7,100 square feet by building a multipurpose facility.

Reifert said after the third phase, the campus would have a population of 190 pupils from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and 37 faculty and staff.

Traffic engineer Mike Riggs estimated that with 132 pupils and 21 faculty and staff there would be 280 incoming cars and 280 outgoing cars on a daily basis at the campus.

With 190 pupils and 37 faculty and staff, there would be 403 incoming cars and 403 outgoing cars on a daily basis at the campus.

He said the peak traffic times would be 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

His analysis of the impact of traffic on the intersection of Morning Star and Elkhorn roads showed that drivers currently wait 9.7 seconds to enter traffic.

With the new school in 2003, the wait would be 10.8 seconds. In 2013, the wait would be 15.8 seconds.

He said that at present, at the intersection of Morning Star and Arrowleaf roads, drivers wait 8.5 seconds to enter traffic. In 2003, Riggs estimated the wait would be 8.9 seconds, and 9.4 seconds in 2013.

Michael Yantis, who did the acoustical study for the school, said that the existing noise level near the campus was "quiet," and said the new school would increase noise from traffic, the school playground and soccer games.

But, he said, all these would be within the 55 dBA and 65 dBA levels set by federal guidelines.

A dBA is a unit of measurement of the relative intensity of sounds. Normal conversation is about 60 dBA, a busy freeway is about 70 dBA, and a jackhammer is about 100 dBA.

Former Community School board of trustees chairman Michael Engl had the final word for the school.

"I am an unabashed supporter of the Community School," he said.

Calling the Dumkes’ donation an "enlightened foresight," he urged the P&Z to give their approval to the school’s plan for Sagewillow.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.