Charter school build likely to begin next year

The construction of a new building for Coral Springs Charter School, in the parking lot of Coral Springs Center for the Arts, is likely to begin in the summer of 2016. The school is expected to open in the fall of 2017.

The results of a traffic study to determine the impact of the new project on the neighborhood will be available by the end of the month, City Manager Erdal Donmez told residents during a community meeting that was organized at the school last week.

The report will be presented at the next community meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 9 at Coral Springs Center for the Arts.

The Coral Springs City Commission will vote on the proposal in the spring of 2016.

“This is far from a done deal,” said Donmez. “This looks like a good, feasible project. We have to look at what is best for the school, but we don’t want to adversely affect the neighborhood.”

According to the plan that is under consideration, Charter Schools USA will build a three-story building, a three-story parking garage and a gymnasium at the new site.

The city will demolish the existing school building and put the site back on the tax rolls.

The people who attended the meeting seemed divided on the relocation issue. While some, including a few parents of students at the school, were of the opinion that the new site was ideal, people living in the area were worried about traffic congestion and the impact that the school would have on the quality of life of people in the area.

“The traffic in the area is going to be quadrupled,” said Sheri Hager, who has lived in the area for 17 years.

“There is no traffic study that can make the traffic any better. I see my quality of life diminishing.”

People in the city were being presented with “fait accompli,” said Tedgold Blatt, another resident. “The first time I heard about this was at the recent Slice of the Springs meeting. This is a done deal. You spent two years discussing it without telling the residents.”

Randy Bitton, teacher at Parkside Elementary, expressed concern at the possibility of unwanted interaction between elementary and high school students after school hours. She wanted to know if the school would consider giving as much importance to music as it does to sports.

Earlier, Deputy City Manager Susan Grant and Richard Page, Charter Schools USA vice president of development, provided details of the project to people in the audience. The project will be built through a public-private partnership, with the city leasing the land to Red Apple Development, a developer of charter schools across the country, for 50 years. The project cost is $25 million; Renaissance Charter School, which is also a member of Charter Schools USA’s family of schools, and Red Apple Development will be the borrowers.

The school will have 2,100 students, an increase of 450 from the current number. The plan is to add 100 more seats in ninth grade every year for four years, with Renaissance Charter School students from Coral Springs getting first preference. Of the new seats, a maximum of 34 will be set aside for non-residents.

The school will have access to the sports fields at Mullins Park, while the public will be able to use the school gym during non-school hours. There will be 654 parking spaces in the three-floor parking garage that will be built behind the school building.

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-cspf-school-0325-20150323-story.html?track=rss

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