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Published: Wednesday, 9/15/2004

Springfield Local: School's plans due next week

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Springfield Local School officials will be getting their first look next week at plans for altering transportation routes involving the high school, middle school, and Holland Elementary school, as well as a more campus-like setting for the buildings.

"Safety and accessibility" of traffic including school buses, cars, and pedestrians is the first issue of concern, Superintendent Cynthia Beekley said, but consultants from The Collaborative Inc. also figured into the design aspects of how the area might appear in the next five to 10 years.

Although there is no thought to immediately implementing plans, "we don't want to come up with a plan now and then have to tear it up later," Ms. Beekely said.

Part of any new transportation system will mean extensive use of Hall Street by buses bringing children to the schools.

That may cause the western side of the high school to become more of a focal point of the campus than the McCord side of the building, which is now used as the main entrance.

Ms. Beekley noted that one problem in planning is the lack of a decision by the Ohio Department of Transportation on its plans to someday construct an overpass or underpass at McCord where it crosses railroad tracks near the high school.

The superintendent said it may be that whatever results on McCord may make it inadvisable to use the McCord side of the building.

If there's just a big blank wall there," she said she would prefer that the west side be used more as the entrance and that administration offices should be shifted to that side.

A number of ideas have been discussed, she said, but she hasn't seen any drawings yet.

School board president Ev Harris said he is looking forward to seeing the plans.

"This is still very preliminary," he said, but in addition to changes in transportation, he wants to see some ideas for visually blending the schools.

He added that he is not a fan of the architectural style of the high school and hopes eventually to see the use of landscaping and other techniques to make it look less like, "an industrial park."



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