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High school progress made

After a recent meeting with the Coupeville Design Review Board, plans for a new high school are becoming more clear.

Coupeville School District met with the Design Review Board in a special meeting March 29 and the twoa entities have tentatively resolved many issues concerning the high school’s site plan.

“I feel we’ve reached closure on almost all of those items,” said Gary Goltz, construction manager for the Coupeville School District.

Town staff identified 13 issues needing resolution before the Coupeville Design Review Board could sign off on the project.

The town’s concerns ranged from pedestrian flow around the high school campus to a buffer that shields a neighboring historic home from the gym.

“We had to make concessions to the Design Review Board to ensure city requirements are met,” Goltz said.

Plans call for moving the proposed auxiliary gym from the south side of the main gym to the north side. That change allows the buffer between the gym and neighboring Compass Rose Bed and Breakfast to expand from seven to 27 feet.

The plans for the gym now include an access road that wraps around the building. Early plans showed an access road on the east side of the building. Goltz said the road is needed for emergency access. He said having the road surrounding the building improves traffic flow.

It does mean the neighboring athletic fields will be smaller but still large enough to accommodate activities.

Goltz said plans still call for a crosswalk south of the Terry Road intersection to improve access between the high school and the gym. The crosswalk includes an island on Main Street between both lanes. That provides pedestrians with a place to wait for traffic while making it more visible to motorists.

Town Planner Larry Kwarsick said the work done so far helps balance the community needs with town requirements. He thinks the site plan could be approved in May.

The meeting was the second time Coupeville School Officials met with the Design Review Board about approval of the site plan. Little progress was made when they first met on March 15.

School officials want the site plan approved so preliminary work can begin on the high school this summer. Construction for the new high school is expected to begin early next year and should be complete by the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. After that, the current high school will be demolished.

The Design Review Board will consider the design of the high school later this fall.

In the meantime, school officials still have to resolve escalating construction costs.

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