Cape Gazette

State approves new school

No site selected for 720-student elementary
By Melissa Steele | Oct 22, 2013
Photo by: Melissa Steele Several parcels around Route 24 and Beaver Dam Road that Cape Henlopen School District is interested in for a new elementary school are highlighted.

State officials have unofficially approved a new Cape Henlopen elementary school and middle school additions.

“This is great news for us. We received an unofficial phone call from the state on Tuesday,” said Superintendent Robert Fulton.

Capital improvement projects require state approval; by approving, the state agrees to fund 60 percent of the total project cost – about $20 million per recent estimates. Taxpayers would have to approve paying the remaining 40 percent – or about $10 million – in a referendum.

In September, Cape officials submitted its plan for a 720-student elementary school that would include 10 Sussex Consortium classrooms.

Fulton said the 10 consortium rooms were not approved at the new school.

“We'll have to discuss with the board on how to deal with the consortium space,” he said.

The plan also included six regular class additions and six consortium classroom additions for Beacon Middle School and six regular classroom additions at Mariner Middle School, which received state approval, said Director of Administrative Services Brian Bassett.

In a bit of a setback, one of the parcels of land the the district was considering for the new elementary school is no longer an option.

The Rollins family, owners of a Beaver Dam Road parcel that was under consideration, recently informed the district they were not interested in selling, Fulton said.

Bassett said the Rollins family, through a letter from their property manager, did not give a reason for pulling the property from further negotiations other than saying “at this time they weren't interested in selling the property.”

“That was a little disappointing,” Bassett said.

A second Beaver Dam Road property still under consideration is a smaller site, but at 19 acres conforms with the state's minimum 17 acre requirement for an elementary school, Fulton said. It is owned by the Delaware State Housing Authority.

In Preliminary Land Use Service comments for the site, Kevin Coyle of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said the soil there makes the parcel “among the most suitable parcels for development.”

Other properties under consideration lie along Route 24 and are all owned by Paul Townsend of Georgetown. Several parcels received favorable soil reviews from Coyle, except a parcel directly across Route 24 from Beacon Middle.

“In fact, this parcel is the least suitable of all the parcels evaluated for development,” he wrote.

Fulton said the district hopes to make a final decision on the elementary school site in about a month.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Greg and Terri Kordal | Oct 22, 2013 10:54

Wonderful news for the district - another sign of the positive growth in this area.  Families are choosing to live here which will help the local, county and state economy (homeowners pay transfer tax/real estate tax, support local business, etc.).  It also highlights the need for controlled planning - taking into consideration safety, traffic, infrastructure, etc. (need for county planner). 

One of these sites (2013-9) is presently being considered for development of the enormous Love Creek RV Resort and Campgound (628 sites).  Planning and Zoning approved the zoning change and conditional use and now it has gone to County Council.  I implore the Council to reject these applications based on all the issues presented by the opposition - but particularly in light of an additional school in this zone.  An RV park obviously brings additional dangerous traffic - competing with school buses on narrow country roads.  The RV park is proposed to be open from April thru November - certainly during periods school is in session.  Also - RV parks contribute minimally to county and state revenues (no transfer tax), but stress the local county services.

This is another strong indication that this location is not the right place for an RV park.  It is an area for low density housing - and residential environments bring schools.  It is not the right fit for an RV park or other commercial ventures. 

If you wish to comment, please login.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.