Berryville planners okay east campus building site plan

Friday, May 11, 2007

BERRYVILLE -- Site plan approval for a school building project went smoothly Tuesday evening when Berryville Planning and Zoning Commissioners met with on of the school's project managers.

It was the second such approval given in as many weeks. The first, pertaining to the west campus and its bus route, required debate and an eventual compromise before city leaders would sign off on the plans.

This time, the only point of contention centered around the possible removal of mature trees to make way for more parking on the east campus.

There, the existing band room will be expanded into a physical education facility, and a new "fine arts" building constructed for the band.

The "circle route" entry onto that portion of the campus will remain, with the exit widened for easy access onto Freeman Avenue, and the center area accommodating additional parking.

It is the trees along a section of Ferguson Street that are at risk because of a retaining wall that is planned alongside the fine arts building.

Also, school officials hope to put in angled parking along that side of Ferguson, removing trees to make way, said Dirk Thibodaux, with Freeland-Kauffman & Fredeen, Inc., the landscape architects for the project.

"I'd like to leave the trees," said Commission Chairman Dan Fanning, "and make every effort to save the trees."

Jason Williams, another commissioner, said he agreed with Fanning. "I think we should do everything to save those trees."

Commissioner Don Burney suggested the trees would likely die because of nearby construction and noted that the school needed the parking.

When asked about the proposed east campus concession stand, Thibodaux said, "it's in the plans, but there is no money."

He noted that the overall schoolwide project had been cut back to just four facilities: the elementary classroom building and multipurpose center on the west campus; and the physical education building and the fine arts center on the east campus.

"Other buildings on the wish list are gone," he said, saying they were the bus maintenance garage, elementary P.E. facility and the concession stand.

In other business, the commission approved Phase III of the Paradise Heights Subdivision as submitted by builder Henry Adams.

Adams said 15 houses had been completed so far in the subdivision that has the potential for 88 homes, with most priced around $125,000.

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