New Entrance Proposed for Middle School Lot

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The New Paltz Central School District is continuing its ongoing efforts to improve the facilities at the middle school. Currently, the district is in the midst of reviewing design plans for the parking lot with the goal of efficiently managing traffic control and maintaining pedestrian safety.

William Wisbauer, an architect from Tetra Tech, Inc. is engaged in the review process with the district. Wisbauer said that the current layout allows for a very limited passage through the parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Rt. 32 South Tetra Tech’s new designs emphasize direct access to the parking lot, including the introduction of a new entrance off of Main Street.

“Currently, there’s only one way to enter the parking lot for drop off,” Wisbauer said. “Our designs aim to improve drop off for cars and address traffic control for pedestrian safety.”

The proposed “new entrance” is the current exit onto Main Street out of the middle school parking lot. Wisbauer said that the only entrance to the parking lot comes off Route 32 N/S. A strategy Tetra Tech hopes to employ is a stacking area, where cars could safely stack without interfering with parking lot traffic currents.

Wisbauer stated these improvements and design proposals were part of the larger expansion of the middle school. These projects are slated to be completed by 2018-2019, according to Wisbauer. There are no additional costs to taxpayers since these projects fall under the umbrella of capital improvements to the school.

New Paltz Central School District Superintendent Maria Rice did not respond to requests for comment.

In spite of the busy thoroughfare that accompanies work at this location, Wisbauer said this is a relatively uncomplicated matter.

“It is a limited site, which certainly adds to the challenge,” Wisbauer said. “However, it is the type of project that is typical of our work at other schools.”

The preliminary design study was reviewed with the participation of the New York State Department of Transportation, (NYSDOT), the town of New Paltz, and the New Paltz Police Department. In the end the traffic data analyzed in the study was confirmed and allowed for future plans to be put forward for the project. More public workshops are slated to be held to address citizen concerns and comments about the project, according to Wisbauer.

Additionally, the bus loop in the front of the school will be widened along with the south entrance. Conversely, the north entrance of the bus loop will be permanently closed off. Addressing the status of the blue building on the corner by Main Street, Wisbauer said that the structure was not an obstacle to Tetra Tech’s plans and would only serve for more parking space if the school decided to tear it down.