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7:54 PM Tue, Sept. 18th

PV council gets to work on school district issues<BR>

PRESCOTT VALLEY – Thursday evening's public meeting was a "school night" for the Prescott Valley Town Council when the council discussed and approved a commercial zoning for property adjacent to Bradshaw Mountain Middle School and passed a final development plan for the future Granville Elementary School.

The council agreed to a request from Humboldt Unified School District to rezone its one-acre parcel on Turquoise Drive near the Bradshaw Mountain Middle School campus from "Residential – Single Family Limited" to "Commercial – Minor Industrial." The property is the site of the former administrative buildings; the district moved its offices into a Prescott Valley strip mall last year. The district intends to sell the old buildings and property. The potential buyer, a distributor of academic books and software, wants the commercial designation so that it can use the old HUSD buildings for warehousing, Community Development Director Richard Parker told the council.

That commercial designation duplicates one the council made only minutes earlier to commercially zone 54 acres on the north and east sides of the middle school. The property is land the town annexed in July. During the meeting the council also approved a development agreement with Safeway, Inc. to build on that property a strip mall similar to the strip mall Safeway already has in Prescott Valley.

The school district is closer to building a much-needed new elementary school with the council's approval of the Granville Elementary School final development plan.

The school will go in the Granville subdivision along Glassford Hill Road, though the plan does not call for access to the school from the four-lane thoroughfare. Instead, vehicles can only get to the campus by driving through the housing subdivision. The subdivision has sidewalks for pedestrian access. Site grading will allow future construction of a 20-foot pedestrian path over a water easement as part of the town's interconnecting trails system. A narrow strip of unbuildable floodplain, which the plan calls "open space," will act as a buffer between the campus and nearby homes.

HUSD Superintendent Dr. Henry Schmitt said the school will serve 650 students. It is still in the design stage.

The state School Facilities Board (SFB) will pay for the construction, but the school district must first show that overcrowding in existing elementary schools makes it necessary.

"SFB should give us a 'yea' or 'nay' on our student numbers in about two months," Schmitt said.

The school district has already posted an opening for an unpaid planning principal position for the new school, he said.

Town policy requires all new subdivisions to set aside property specifically for future school campuses. Developers cede the property to the town, according to Town Manager Tony Mortillaro, which then turns it over to the school district.

Also at the meeting, the council approved another $7,500 expenditure in the Agua Fria River Recharge Facility project to install temperature sensors in the river channel. The project has now used $70,000 of a FY 2003-04 budgeted $100,000. The council has already approved an expenditure of up to $242,907 to obtain permits from Arizona Department of Water Resources to recharge treated wastewater into the Agua Fria riverbed. The recharge will give the town ADWR "credits" to draw more groundwater. The temperature sensors will collect data necessary to get the permits, Mortillaro said.