A group of organizations that includes the North End and Veterans Park neighborhood associations, as well as Preservation Idaho, is appealing the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval of the design in April. In general, these people are in favor of a new Whittier Elementary. But they believe the school should have a more urban design, with buildings close to sidewalks on the property’s perimeter and parking areas made less visible. Instead, the proposed design anticipates a major parking area on the property’s north side and the school building located in the center of the parcel.
The appellants worry that the proposed placement of parking would create too many conflict points between people on foot and cars moving through the parking areas. They also want the district to preserve mature trees on the school site, a 6.58-acre lot located between Whitewater Park Boulevard and Jefferson, 29th and Idaho streets. Other concerns include a lack of specifics for maintaining historic buildings on the site.
A memorandum introducing the appeal criticized the district for not adhering to a more robust energy efficiency guidelines.
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“It is hard to understand why the school district is reluctant to invest in life-cycle cost savings that will save taxpayers money,” the memorandum reads. “We should be building 100 year buildings like the city used to do.”
For years, the district has eyed replacement of Whittier, which is crowded and old. But it is no longer on the district’s list of the first four schools to be upgraded with money from a $172.5 million bond that passed overwhelmingly in March.
The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday on the appeal. That meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the third-floor council chambers at City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd.