Site work will start soon on a new Bayfield school for third through fifth grades. It will be on 40 acres across East Oak Drive from Bayfield Middle School.
About 40 district residents turned out last week for a presentation about the new school, plus renovations and additions at the current elementary school. Both projects will be funded by an $8.56 million BEST grant from the Colorado Department of Education and a $28.7 million bond issue approved by district voters last November.
Neighbors of the new school had concerns about traffic impacts and safety of kids and adults walking, especially where there are no sidewalks.
Daniel Gartner from the Grand Junction-based Chamberlin Architect firm led the presentation, starting with the new school site plan. All access will be from Oak Drive. Road improvements will happen in summer 2018 to widen the road slightly and add a turn lane for access to both Bayfield Middle School and the new school. There will be a flashing light crosswalk between the schools.
The Mountain View-East Oak-Lakeside intersection will become a roundabout “to make that intersection more functional than it is now,” Gartner said.
An audience member asked about parking for school events, which has often been along Mountain View and East Oak.
“We’re designing it so the schools can share facilities and parking,” said Marty Zwisler, the district owner’s representative. If money is available later in the overall project, there are plans for a gravel overflow parking lot north of the BMS football field, he added.
A nearby resident asked about the future road coming north from U.S. Highway 160 on the east side of the 40 acres, then west across the top of the 40 acres to link with Cedar Drive. She questioned the increased traffic that will cause.
“What about safety of kids (walking) on Cedar?” she asked. “There are no sidewalks. It’s very narrow. I’m right on the corner. People don’t stop.” She wanted to know if there are any plans to widen Cedar.
“That’s separate from what we have control over,” said School Superintendent Troy Zabel.
Gartner added, “Our part was to grant an easement across our property. ... This is conceptual at this point. It strikes us as less than ideal to have a major thoroughfare right there.” The easement was granted because the town required it as part of annexing the 40 acres, he said.
Audience members also worried about the safety of kids crossing at the Oak-Cedar intersection.