Albemarle Planners to Review Alternate Field School Location
The Field School
Traffic troubles could slow down a private school's plans to build its first full campus in Albemarle County. Tuesday night, county planners will review the Field School's request to open an all-boys middle school on property along a busy road.
The Field School of Charlottesville opened at Claudius Crozet Park in 2007. Then classes moved to the Old Crozet School. Now, the private school is looking for land to house its outdoor-based education.
"It's been a good, consistent growth," said Todd Barnett, founding head of school at Field School.
The private all-boys middle school started with 27 students in 2007. Enrollment has tripled for the upcoming school year, and the classrooms - leased from Albemarle County in the Old Crozet school - are starting to run out of room. So the Field School is ready to move.
"Seems like the time is right to do that. We'd like to be able to control our space," said Barnett.
The school is drawing up plans to build a campus of classrooms and athletic fields on its own land.
"We have looked and looked and looked for the right space to accommodate the school," said Barnett.
The Field School is requesting a special use permit from the county for a 62-acre property along Polo Grounds Road - next to the soccer complex. Fifty of those acres along Powell's Creek and the Rivanna River would remain undeveloped.
"The area they're preserving is definitely a benefit, because certainly the site could be much more heavily impacted if it were all developed as residential units for example," said Scott Clark, Albemarle County senior planner.
County planners are concerned about extra traffic the campus could cause, including back-ups at the Route 29 intersection.
"Traffic has always been a concern for people living in the area," said Clark.
The Field School buses students to class and argues that would limit any increase on the road where it wants to settle down for the future.
"The school's different, because once you buy a piece of property, you're there forever. So, we want to make sure it's right," said Barnett.
Right now, county staff recommends denying the school's request due to the traffic issues. The planning commission will review it at its meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Field School would like to open a new campus within five to seven years.
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Friday, March 7 2014 4:54 PM EST2014-03-07 21:54:30 GMT
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