Plans for extensive renovations at Westlake High School are undergoing one more round of review and adjustment after Monday night’s special meeting of the Planning Commission.
Over the next few years, construction crews will renovate much of Westlake High School, transform Lee Burneson Middle School into an intermediate school for grades 5-6 and build a new middle school for grades 7-8.
After seeing the latest renderings of the buildings, commission members and residents raised questions and concerns about traffic patterns, tree planting, landscaping and student safety.
“This has been a 3 and a half year process that has included the community at every step,” said Superintendent Dan Keenan. “Our main goal is to have a safe environment for students that will make our community proud.”
A new access drive to the south side of Westlake High School would require the removal of an unknown number of trees. As in the past, residents expressed concerns about forest buffer between the school and neighboring subdivisions.
While commission members said they expect the number of tree removed to be low, they need to see the plan as well as the tree-planting schedule.
“I’m sure the plan exceeds tree preservation requirements by tenfold at least,” said Planning and Economic Development Director Bob Parry.
Barb Charnigo, a Settler’s Reserve Way resident, was one of several to share some concerns about dying trees and soil erosion. She said the removal of trees to create the access drive could cause erosion and more dead trees.
“The concern I have is an ecological problem and an aesthetic problem with implications for property values around us,” she said. “I’m very concerned about landscaping issues and what trees will be planted and what kind.”
Landscape architects Behnke Associates, Inc. said they will do their best to minimize tree removal and are confident that the enlarged water retention basin on the site will prevent erosion.
Architects said they will submit information on the number of trees to be removed, bike racks and other details to the Planning Commission at its next meeting June 6.