Soda Creek dialogue begins

District, Old Town residents discuss school's move this summer

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Steamboat Today host Erin Collins interviews Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris about construction on the school, which will begin this summer. Watch Steamboat Today from 7 to 9 a.m. daily on Steamboat TV18.

Steamboat Today host Erin Collins interviews Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris about construction on the school, which will begin this summer. Watch Steamboat Today from 7 to 9 a.m. daily on Steamboat TV18.

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F&D International Project Manager Todd Ficken tries to assuage commmunity fears about parking and traffic congestion after the planned move of Soda Creek Elementary School from its current location to modular buildings on the north lawn of the school district's administration building downtown. Ficken spoke to citizens at two open forums at the Administration Building in downtown Steamboat Springs on Thursday.

— Old Town residents are concerned about traffic and parking when Soda Creek Elementary School moves to a temporary facility at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center.

The concerns were raised Thursday during a public meeting hosted by the school district to discuss the pending move.

Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Judy Harris and Superintendent Donna Howell told Old Town residents the school district wants to be a good neighbor. The temporary move of Soda Creek to the Human Services Center and the vacant grass lot adjacent to the Seventh Street location will begin this summer. Construction on a new Soda Creek is scheduled to begin after school lets out.

"Pine Street already has a bunch of high school kids dashing up and down," said Joe Fogliano, who attended Thursday's afternoon meeting with wife Edie Fogliano. They live on Pine between Fifth and Sixth Streets. "From what I've seen, everyone drops their children off individually. What can be done to alleviate the bottlenecks? How can we encourage people to take the bus?"

"I'll jump on that," said Kent Nightwalker, a resident of Eighth Street. "Are there going to be traffic signs? How are you going to do accident prevention?"

Parking is limited near the Human Services Center because the only off-street parking is a single line of diagonal parking spots on Eighth Street and less than a dozen vertical spots to the north of the Human Services Center.

Every other parking place is on-street.

"There is not a set plan," said Todd Ficken, the district's owner's representative for the upcoming school construction projects at Soda Creek, Strawberry Park Elementary School and the Steamboat Springs Middle School.

Residents wanted to know when a plan would be in place. Ficken said he and Bill Fox, a transportation expert who has worked with the district and city on previous projects, will start planning next week. Ficken estimated they would have traffic plans to review in about a month.

Harris said Fox has been at Soda Creek to do traffic studies and collect data, so he is prepared to help create a plan.

"We really want to be good neighbors," Harris said. "There are parents talking about using city buses or school buses more. I don't have an answer. We have a large number of active parents. For some, it's an important part of their day, bringing their children to school and picking them up."

Edie Fogliano still has questions about the parking burden that the neighborhood near the Human Services Center will see in August. "My concern is they are going to end up at my house," she said.

"I'll be honest," Ficken said. "It is going to create a certain level of change, but I encourage everyone that it's only temporary."

Residents Carol Stehley, Nightwalker and the Foglianos said they understood and didn't have a problem with the school moving to the Human Services Center temporarily as much as they wanted to stay informed of how the district is going to address their concerns.

"We know it's temporary," Nightwalker said. "We know it will be trying at times. We won't cry. We just want to know what you are doing."

Ficken said residents in the neighborhood with concerns or insight on solutions to parking and traffic flow are encouraged to contact the district office at 879-1530.

"Get them out on the table," Ficken said. "This won't be your only chance."

The district will announce its next meetings as they approach.

- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

citizenjohnq 7 years ago

I'm all for Soda Creek being updated, it needs it badly. The one thing that seems to be relatively unknown, by the general public, is what the district is going to do with the Soda Creek students and staff. Or, for that matter, what is going to be done with the students and staff that already occupy the Human Services Center. Both the Yampa Valley Alternative High School and the Stepping Stones Transition Program use this building. The students at Stepping Stones, many with severe needs, are being forced to give up their sensory room- something that is vital to their continued development and transition, and is mandated by the state in these student's Individualized Education Plans, or IEP's. That which is most disturbing about the District's "plans" is where the Kindergarten is going to be located- just down the hall from Stepping Stones. Some may think this is not that meaningful, but consider this: Many of the Stepping Stones students have a difficult enough time with just the noise created by a vacuum cleaner; now add dozens of Kindergarten students- even on their best behavior there's going to be significant noise- and you've just made it very difficult to create an environment conducive to the Stepping Stones student's needs. Here's a link to the plans for the modular classrooms and offices, and the Human Services Center: http://www.sssd.k12.co.us/common/content.asp?PAGE=339 Click on any of the PDF links under "Human Services Center". It seems to be that the bond was voted in last November, and THEN the district started planning what they were going to do. Hindsight is 20/20, and there's not a lot that can be done about the "wait until we know we've got the bond voted a 'go' and then we'll plan what to do with it...", but, in the future, the community should see to it that these things are investigated much further (i.e.- traffic studies, neighborhood impact, etc.) than they have been- and that the public has this information BEFORE they vote on such an issue.

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