Capital School District administrators and board members met with members of Dover's planning commission, Planning and Inspections staff, DelDOT and others to get a look at plans for the new Dover High School.
In a meeting everyone in attendance agreed was a rare occasion, Capital School District’s Board of Education held a work session regarding the new Dover High School with members of Dover’s Planning and Inspections staff, Dover Planning Commission members, a DelDOT representative, architects, civil engineers and others.
The meeting gave planning commissioners an early look at the current site plan, and allowed the various stakeholders to raise concerns and ask questions.
One issue that has come up repeatedly is a possible connection from the shared access road planned on the west side of the property to Hazlettville Road and Tribbitt Drive to the south. The addition could cause funding issues for the district.
Scott Koenig, Public Services Manager/Director of Public Works, said the staff recommendations are to treat the school like any other development project.
“We have plans for interconnectivity among a number of sites for going back almost two decades ... and staff recommendation is going to be interconnectivity to Tribbitt Street from the day the school opens.”
Gregg Moore, Becker Morgan Group principal, said the district is not against the connector, but funding it would put them in a budget crunch.
“The more we can save in public infrastructure, the more we can spend on making a good school for our students,” he said.
Traffic is a perennial issue in the area, and one that could be worsened by the new school if there is no connector, according to Ann Marie Townshend, city director of planning and community development.
Townshend said her concern is that if the school opens as scheduled in 2014, but the road isn’t in place until 2020, students from the approximately 950 residential units south of the site would have to drive on already-congested streets such as Hazlettville and Mifflin roads, Artis Drive and Route 8.
“If we don’t provide any access when the school opens, by car, other than Route 8, we’re only going to exacerbate the problem that exists now and during the peak hours when people are leaving and coming into their community, so that is the concern.”
DelDOT has been receptive and helpful, but there is no “magic wand,” she said.
Moore said he hopes DelDOT will fund the regional connector.
Ralph Reeb, director of DelDOT’s division of planning, didn’t have the answer Moore was looking for. He said Secretary Carolann Wicks is aware of the issue and DelDOT wants to work closely with all those involved.
“There is not a piece of money just waiting for this project. But the secretary is aware,” he said.
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