Four possible parking lot sites near BJHS/BHS campus reviewed
The Baldwin school board was given several options to consider Monday should it want to increase parking at the Baldwin junior high and high school campus.
Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the discussion of parking lot options developed from the board’s ongoing update of the district’s facility plan, which will define the future needs and uses of USD 348 buildings and properties.
The parking lot options were shared with the board for its consideration as they worked toward a final facilities plan, and no actions was requested for Monday.
Dorathy said board members had proposed using part the of district-owned former Rhulen property northwest of the high school as a parking lot. However, during a recent discussion about the property and parking needs with Baldwin High School Principal Rob McKim, BJHS Principal Joe Sample and district facilities director Charles James, concerns were expressed about the distance from that site to the high school and junior high. That would make for a significant walk and also require installation of a good deal of sidewalk and lighting, Dorathy said.
There was enough parking at the campus to handle everyday school needs, but there is regular overflow parking on streets during home sporting events or special events like graduation, the board was told. Well-attended events also required visitors to park some distance from the gym, which creates safety concerns.
James shared with the board four alternative locations for a parking lot, which he rated 1 through 4 with 1 being the most desirable location.
The highest rated site was immediately west of the parking lot west of the high school. There was room there to nearly double the size of the existing 2,100-square-foot parking lot and add about 60 parking spaces.
The second- and third-rated sites were the former softball fields directly north of the shared junior high and high school parking lot, with the easternmost field rated highest. District activities director Gary Stevanus said the district used the fields for physical education classes but rarely used more than one at a time. Baldwin City Parks and Recreation also use the fields, he said.
James said either field would add about 90 parking spaces to the 186 available in the shared lot. A parking lot on either field would also flow very well into that existing lot, serve the soccer field, the Performing Arts Center and Baldwin Junior High School gymnasium, he said.
The final and lowest rated site was the green space between the western ball field and the soccer field.
The board saw the advantage to the district and the community increasing attendance at events and attracting post-season tournaments, such as the 4A wrestling regional to be at the BJHS gym this weekend.
The board will consider the facilities plan again next month.
In other action, the board:
- Was introduced to new transportation director Shawn Ellis, who moved from a position in facilities to his new position with the recent resignation of Tracy Rockers.
- Learned that the district was spared the potential large expense of providing health insurance to paraprofessionals working with the East Central Kansas Cooperative in Education. The co-op is not required to provide coverage under the Affordable Care Act because the paraprofessionals work less than 30 hours a week.
- Was updated on the status of the sale of Vinland Elementary School to Darren Flory. Dorathy said Flory would approach the Douglas County Planning Commission this week about getting the property rezoned. The district is working with a title company to get the property title ready for transfer and is removing items stored at the old school, some of which teachers are claiming for use in their classrooms. Unwanted items would be sold in a “garage sale like” sale later this spring, Dorathy said.