Advertisement

Officials unveil plans for elementary school in Hager's Crossing

April 24, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • The Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of a 16.5-acre tract in the Hager's Crossing housing development for a new "West City" elementary school that could replace Conococheague and Winter Street elementary schools.
By Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

About 70 people attended an informational meeting Wednesday night where officials briefed the public on the plans for the proposed “West City” elementary school in the Hager’s Crossing development in Hagerstown’s West End.

Chad Criswell, a senior project manager and planning supervisor for Washington County Public Schools, and two others laid out details including bus traffic associated with the school, its outdoor recreational features and its emphasis on using green construction.

But members of the team emphasized that drawings they were showing were only rough ideas of the school and that the final design is yet to be worked out.

In regards to traffic issues, David S. Trostle, a project manager for the Frederick, Seibert & Associates Inc. engineering firm, pointed out that the site had been intended for 264 apartments.

That would have equated to about 1,400 car trips to and from the apartments daily, Trostle said.

“But you’re getting rid of that traffic,” Trostle said. Officials said at the meeting, held in the community center at Hager’s Crossing, there would be about six school buses serving the school daily.

Advertisement

Aaron House, with Bushey Feight Morin Architects, said the school will rely heavily on natural light and he said studies have been shown that the more natural light is used in a school, the more it positively impacts the learning environment.

The school will be designed so it can be expanded and will feature outdoor soccer areas, a baseball diamond and a walking trail, House said. The walking trail will serve a dual purpose because it can be used in the school’s science curriculum and it can also be used by the public, House said.

Officials said the school will incorporate the best of what school officials have learned about school construction and will use SMART board technology, “wireless throughout the school” and security that is integrated throughout the building.

Lighting at the school will be directed downward to protect neighbors from being affected by it, House said.

“The glare will not leave the property of the school,” House said.

One person in the audience asked if solar energy or geothermal energy will be used in construction.

Officials responded by saying the building would be LEED certified and would have a “silver” level at least.

Ryan Ballard, who lives in the development, asked officials why a school was not included for the development when it was first approved. Ballard said his experience is that developments the size of Hager’s Crossing usually have school sites and that often land for schools is donated by the developers.

“I just think we’re overpaying for this piece of property,” Ballard said.

The land for the school cost about $1.5 million.

Kathleen Maher, the city of Hagerstown’s planning director, told Ballard that Hagerstown did not have an adequate public facilities ordinance when Hager’s Crossing was approved. But even if the city did, it would have not dealt with school issues because the city is not involved in public education, Maher said.

A site selection study for the school states the proposed school property is zoned R2, or residential, with a Planned Unit Development (PUD) overlay for mixed-density residential. For the school to be built there, a PUD amendment is needed, the study states. That process involves Hagerstown Planning Commission review and, eventually, City Council approval.

Officials said that process will take about six months and the school could be completed by August 2016.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|