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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 12 - 18, 2002


Praised heaped on proposed new school

Community School proponents take center stage

Express Staff Writer

The yeas far outnumbered the nays Tuesday as the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission continued gathering public comment on The Community School’s proposed new Sagewillow elementary school campus.

Two objectors to the school, John Anderson and Mike Sampson, said new traffic generated by parents dropping off and picking up children would have a distruptive impact on the neighborhood in the area of Arrowleaf and Morning Star roads.

"If you grant this permit," Anderson said, "you can’t undo it."

As for Sampson, he said that he moved to Sun Valley in 1978 because of the lifestyle, which he said would be forever changed by the school.

If approved by the city of Sun Valley, the $12 million school would be built on 30 acres donated by the Dumke family, one of whose sons, Ed, rose to vigorously protest what he called "maliciously mischaracterized" perceptions of the school and the Dumke’s motives in donating the land.

Without the school, Dumke said the community might evolve into "an empty shell of retired people." As for traffic, he said that if the land were developed for residences, he said traffic would be far denser than the school would generate.

P&Z commissioner Nils Ribi, however, suggested to Community School officials in the audience that they offer a plan that might include the alternative use of buses to move children from the school’s Trail Creek main campus to the elementary Sagewillow site.

A succession of speakers, many of them with children who are students or alumni of The Community School, went to the microphone to heap praise on the proposed campus.

John Thorson said that to achieve worthwhile goals in the community, such as building the new hospital, "we had to set aside powerful emotional biases."

Longtime real estate executive Dick Fenton predicted the school would enhance nearby property values and prove to be an important lure to newcomers moving to the area.

A resident who lives only 500 feet from the present Community School, Dick Hare, said he has never been disturbed by noise, traffic or other activities, calling the school a "perfect neighbor."

A developer, Dick Poulsen, said investors in real estate projects "move heaven and earth to have a facility like this (the proposed school)" nearby to improve the quality of the area.

"Trying to preserve what we had yesterday" rather than look to the future, said another speaker, Dave Carter, "is not a good path."

A former Sun Valley mayor, Tom Praggastis, dismissed objections to the school as "public clamor," defined in the dictionary as "noisy shouting."

Praggastis also hailed the Dumke family for the donated land, adding that longtime families such as the Dumkes and the Jansses had helped create the valley’s success by their philanthropy.

"The Community School is in keeping with their vision," Praggastis said.

Michael Orb seemed to take some of the steam out of the traffic argument by pointing out that the proposed school would be in session during months when many of the part-time residents of the area are not in town.

Commission chairman Jim McLaughlin announced that another design review hearing would be held June 25 in the Limelight Room of the Sun Valley Inn.


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.