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Hockessin Community News
  • NCCo Council reviews plans for new Red Clay school; approval expected next week

  • William F. Cooke, Jr. Elementary School appears close to clearing its final hurdle.
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  • William F. Cooke, Jr. Elementary School appears close to clearing its final hurdle.
    The new Red Clay school is proposed for a 17-acre site is in Hockessin, on the south side Graves Road and on the west side of Newport-Gap Pike.Buses will use the Newport-Gap Pike entrance.
    Councilwoman Janet Kipatrick (R-Hockessin) was quite confident that construction of the 69,552-square-foot school would proceed soon.
    "I think we're within days of breaking ground and actually starting construction," she said.
    Moreover, she said the main issue of traffic flow seemed to be resolved from a community meeting she attended that was held months ago.
    "Really the only issue that was brought up was traffic, and, as always, that is a major sticking point in any plan that we have, whether it be a school or not," she said. "The stacking lanes are certainly something," she continued, "and the flow of the buses versus cars, that they are completely cut off from each other so that they can't co-mingle, I think is an asset."
    Council is expected to approve the plan at next Tuesday's evening meeting.
    Stephanie Hansen, a land use attorney at Young Conway Stargatt & Taylor, presented the plan for Red Clay. She said that the parking area is larger than required so there could be additional stacking that could happen with the cars going in and out of Graves Road. Buses will be able to make left and right turns into the school; however, buses will only be allowed to turn right out of the school onto Newport-Gap Pike.
    Hansen also mentioned that a Traffic Impact Study (TIS) had already been completed and filed.
    The elementary school, which Hansen said is the result of a 2012 referendum, will house 600 children in grades K-5. The district, which has owned the property since about 1981, anticipates opening the school for the 2015-2016 school year.
    Councilman John Cartier (D-Brandywine East) was happy with the school's design and "good timing" of the new elementary school's future community impact.
    Although he doesn't remember a new school built in northern New Castle County since he's been on Council, Cartier said the school would provide construction jobs.
    "It looks like a well-designed plan where you're segregating commuters [and] single-occupancy vehicles from the bus," he said. "It looks like a very sensible arrangement that way to make it an efficient way to have students come in and leave, so it looks really good."
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