Here’s a summary of what was covered and what the concerns were. It was a standing-room only crowd in the Hunsberger School auditorium.
Bill Dunkelberger (Forest Service) spoke first about the Forest Service and the Educational Land Grant Award program. He spoke about the process and the site.
- The Forest Service sees the 93 acre lot as not in “forest character” since it is surrounded by private property in a suburban environment. It is the kind of property they would want to get rid of.
- The comment period is open until August 31.
- Before a final decision to grant the property, the Forest Service will consider public comments, take another look at the environmental assessment, and then decide whether to approve the transfer of the property or not.
- The Forest Service reserves the right to retract the property if it is not used for the intended purpose.
- There is only one school in the current plan: there is no plan for a Pre-k or vocational school.
Traci Davis (WCSD Superintendent) introduced information about the school district.
- The District presently spends $20M on repairs and maintenance.
- The District serves 65k students.
- The WC-1 legislation authorizes the building of 3 new schools.
Adam Searcy spoke representing the capital projects department for the District.
- The Arrowcreek school is specified in the WC-1 legislation.
- Using the land provided by the Forest Service greatly reduces the cost of the school.
- The District will go “above and beyond” in an effort to be a good neighbor.
- The design is 75% done, with special attention to traffic and drainage characteristics.
- Flood risk will be addressed with a system of french drains and catch basins to reduce the runoff that is normally seen on that lot.
- Traffic will be addressed with a 2900′ private road 40′ wide which will allow parallel parking on both sides. There will be 300 parking spaces where as Depaoli only has 186.
- There will be a separate bus loop to pick-up and drop-off.
- For large events, the Hunsberger parking lots will be available.
- There will be elevated pedestrian bridges for students to cross the private road.
- In regards to landscaping, 40% of the property will not be graded but left to natural vegetation. They will plant 500 new trees and 2500 native shrubs so that the school will barely be visible from the street.
- The goal is to open the school to 1400 students in August 2020.
The sentiment of most attendees was that the school was needed and there was some impatience that it had taken so long to get a new school to address the elementary school overcrowding and the long trip to Pine School. One resident asserted that the concerns expressed about the school were a disingenuous tactic to delay the build to keep the neighborhood unchanged.
Questions and concerns expressed by attendees.
- Will the Arrowcreek Road be widened to handle the extra school traffic? The answer is that this is not part of the plan.
- What steps are being taken to provide security at the school? The answer is that the school will be built to the latest design standards regarding security with a perimeter fence and a single point of entry.
- How will the three schools on Arrowcreek be evacuated in case of fire? There was a fire 4 years ago and the roads were jammed. The answer is that the school will be built to incorporate extra fire-safety features so that shelter-in-place may be possible.
- There is concern that the lot has earthquake faults close to the school. The school will be built on sediment and fill and may be susceptible to damage.
- If there is only the one road with an entrance on Thomas Creek and an entrance on Crossbow, how can parents come to pick up students in an emergency?
- The Washoe County Planning Commission turned down the request to allow grading before the school plan is approved. The District will appeal this decision to the Board of County Commissioners on August 28.
- Flooding downhill below Thomas Creek is a problem. The area was flooded 4 years ago. What if a detention pond fails in a bad storm? It poses a terrible risk to downhill homeowners.
- Are there plans to improve Thomas Creek for the expected bicycle and pedestrian traffic expected to and from the new school?
The traffic, hydrology, and school design principals were present. There were one or two references to the county planning staff that they could be trusted to resolve problems. This was viewed with some skepticism.
Commissioner Bob Lucey was not seen at this event. Steve Wolgast is a candidate for the Washoe County Commission.