Developers show locals full Sunset Park relief plan
| 8:13 a.m. September 10, 2015
West Orange Times & Observer
HORIZON WEST — Orange County Public Schools officials, including District 1 School Board Member Pam Gould, revealed 100% design plans for the relief school of Sunset Park Elementary Sept. 2, at Sunset Park.
Site 117, the relief school location, is between Silverlake Park Drive and Vermillion Avenue to the southeast and northwest, as well as between Powder Ridge and Iron Mountain trails to the southwest and northeast, a stone’s throw from Lakeside Village Center. A county park will be to the north, with a day care to the east.
SchenkelShultz Architecture partner Dave Torbert, one of the lead designers, presented a new layout of the site with both the entrance and exit for non-bus traffic along the Vermillion Avenue side, based on community feedback regarding traffic previously on the Silverlake Park Drive side, near the roundabout at its intersection with Reams Road. Buses would enter from that side at the west end near the retention pond on the western edge of the property, driving out to Silverlake Park Drive thereafter. Cars would enter near the north corner of the site, stacking as many as 275 and parking as many as 242 along the winding drive to the parent drop lane before looping back to the Vermillion Avenue side to exit.
Community feedback also helped designers relocate the tot lot and playground about 75 feet north of the two-story school building in the center of the site, so that a shade structure could legally be built over them if desired, Torbert said.
Kevin Miller, a member of county traffic engineering staff, presented an action plan involving speed studies of the roundabout and Reams Road running south from it. The plan includes warning devices at every entry to the circle, several school crossing signs, possibly added school crossings on the north side and as many as three traffic guards, if available.
Resident Tamara Forrester, whose previous feedback played a role in the changes, asked whether any of this would be deemed hazardous to get children courtesy buses. Miller said construction could be deemed hazardous, but a lack of sidewalk connectivity is generally not considered hazardous.
A sidewalk will line the entirety of the property’s borders, with entrances along all sides but Powder Ridge Trail, leading to one bike rack near the front entrance facing Silverlake Park Drive and another near the northern corner of the school, Torbert said.
Forrester said the standing water of the retention pond would be a concern, and staff said sprays would occur, which concerned many parents in attendance. Forrester also said the physical education space looked too small. Torbert said designers would examine the possibility of enhancing physical education space as costs allow.
East of the bus entrance will be a service lot, basketball courts and a play field with room for future expansion.
In general, the school is just like the newest public school in West Orange County, Gould said.
“Independence (Elementary) is really the same school as you’re seeing tonight (in plans),” she said.
The main difference from Independence Elementary is about 8,000 more square feet, mostly used to enlarge each classroom to a more appropriate size with the newest technology, Torbert said.
Pirtle Construction Company’s Jacob Katz said construction would start in mid-September and entail about 20 to 100 workers at a time, with the walls of the school up by Christmas and move-in for staff by July. Work will occur 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days, including Saturdays, and occasionally last longer, such as when early-morning concrete pours must happen, he said.
Construction updates will be on the company’s Facebook page, and Gould said she would provide updates, too, such as on the zoning process, which begins with a Sept. 28 meeting in downtown Orlando.