Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Handley Elementary comments/reponses

The following items are responses to some feedback received on the Handley Elementary School design. Refer to the updated site plan included below for graphic representation:

  • West 13th Street has street parking on both sides and has some existing drainage issues.  Filling the existing greenspace with parking and new building construction will make the drainage issues worse.  Can the buses continue to access the site from 10th Street and eliminate the new access off 13th and potential drainage issues?
    • The design team is studying the overall site drainage.  There will be different systems developed to contain excess rain water within the boundaries of the site.  The design team has examined the bus drop-off and has limited the number of buses (4 or 5). The bus drop-off lane has been shifted to the north, leaving a larger area of grass between the bus area and 13th St.  The car drop-off at the north side of the site and the bus drop-off at the south have been purposely separated  to address student safety and reduce traffic congestion.  the area where the existing building currently sits will become a large play area that will be a combination of grass and mulch.
  • The car drop off area is currently planned to the north side of the building. If the bus drop-off area is moved to the north side of the building, the car drop-off area could be placed in the larger parking lot at the corner of 10th and F Street  and still provide enough room for staff parking (the lot is currently under-utilized during school hours).
    • The bus and auto drop-off areas are separated to create a safer condition for students and less vehicular congestion in the same location. From similar projects experience this is a critical learning. Walkers have also been taken into consideration by reducing the number of drives or streets that a walker would cross to access the school.  The current lot at 10th and F Streets is also used for event parking for Kiwanis field.
  • The current plans call for a paved area from 10th St. to the front of the new building. That is a lot of pavement. Where is the green space?
    • Refer to the updated site plan below. The new Handley Elementary School is a two-story building that helps to minimize the impact to the site. The footprint will be larger than the existing Handley Elementary School to allow for adequately sized Gym, Cafeteria and support spaces. Green space is located to the north of the building and to the south.  A "service drive" is located to the west of the building for deliveries and utility access. It will be gated off during the day but will help address traffic congestion.
  • The playground area at Protsman Elementary in Dyer seems very restrictive, kids need room to run.
    • A critical issue for the design of the Protsman playground was safety and security for the students and staff. The new Handley Elementary includes 2 playgrounds that also are being designed to be safe and secure. The northern playground is for lower elementary students, and the southern one, aligned with the Gym and Cafeteria, is for upper grade levels (this arrangement has worked well at other LaPorte elementary schools). There are many areas to run and keep the kids active within a fenced-in, secure area.
  • Has anyone considered tearing down the current building and re-building on the same spot? I know this would mean children being bused to other schools during construction, but may provide a better end product. 
    • Timing is a critical issue in any school project. The more disruption of a student's learning cycle, the less effective the learning experience. Meaning, if all of the students are displaced for the year and one half that the entire construction process would take place, it could take a significant toll on the overall learning process. The cost of busing would impact the need for additional buses and drivers, and more importantly, there isn't enough room in other buildings to allow for dispersing of the Handley students to other buildings.  
Your comments are appreciated and we hope we have addressed your concerns.