DHS new multipurpose bldg_color.jpg

Under a site plan approved by the Derby Planning Commission, a series of improvements to Derby High School will take place. The artist’s rendering above depicts a multipurpose room addition.

A series of improvements for the high school is making progress after action by the Derby Planning Commission.

At its Sept. 19 meeting, the commission approved the site plans for the school at 920 N. Rock Road, subject to a variety of conditions. They include submission and approval of drainage plans, temporary parking, and traffic plans. Conditions also call for approval of a realigned entrance plan by the city engineer, along with other concerns raised.

The school was originally built in the 1990s and has since undergone several additions and renovations as needed.

This series of improvements include additions for an administration area, alternative learning center/storm shelter, multipurpose room, parking lot improvements and the realignment of the Rock Road entrance to improve access and circulation.

The cost of the projects has not yet been finalized.

Much of the meeting’s discussion centered on the Rock Road entrance, which will be realigned with East Pinion Road and signalized.

The existing pedestrian crossing north of Pinion will be removed and a right turn lane into the school from northbound Rock Road will be installed.

Basically, there will be full turning movements to Rock Road.

The cost will be shared by the city and the school district.

On the property, the existing drive connecting the north staff parking lot to Rock Road will become one-way south and west to the new signalized intersection and a new drive to the south will be two-way. That will be to facilitate traffic south connecting to the existing student parking lot.

Working out traffic solutions

Member Patrick Baer said Rock Road was an area of concern.

“We have a lot of traffic coming into that spot, especially when school is coming in and out,” he said. “It sounds good to have signals there.”

Baer questioned Mark Dayton with Young and Associates about the traffic plan, but said he was reassured after learning that officials are working with TranSystems, a traffic engineering firm, on the plan.

Baer, himself a civil engineer, said he was familiar with the company and its work and was confident that they, along with City Engineer Dan Squires, would work out the best traffic answer.

Chairman Mitch Adams echoed that thought.

“Obviously, everyone is looking for the best solution,” he said.

The James Street and Madison Avenue access points will remain unchanged.

Member Jessica Rhein wondered if drainage would be a problem and Dayton said there are

large culverts in place to handle it.

“We’re not going to change drainage or the flow patterns,” Dayton said.

Member Mark Tillison said congestion could get worse on James, calling it a “logjam” during busy periods.

Stacy Christie of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, who is working on the project, said they are aware of it.

“We know there’s congestion there, but we’re trying to make it better,” she said.

While the site plan is approved, there likely will be adjustments as all the details come into play, she said.

“There are some things in flux,” she said. “You guys are hearing this now, but it’s still a moving target.”