School Board concerned about CenterPoint

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Suffolk School Board voted Thursday to draft a resolution asking the developers of the CenterPoint project to stagger workers’ shifts at the warehouses to create the least possible impact on the morning school bus traffic.

The proposed development, which has been discussed in Planning Commission and City Council work sessions, is planned for a large tract of land between U.S. Route 58, Kenyon Road and the CSX Railroad tracks that cross Kenyon Road past Lakeland High School. About 900 acres make up the total area of the proposed development.

At its last meeting, School Board members brought up concerns about how the development would affect nearby Lakeland High and Forest Glen Middle schools.

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“It doesn’t appear close enough to have sound impact” on Lakeland High School, Superintendent Milton Liverman said. The school and the development, although relatively close, will be separated by wetlands and other natural sound barriers from the development, if it is approved and moves forward as planned.

It will, however, impact traffic on U.S. Route 58 during the morning and afternoon rush hours. School lets out between 2:15 and 3 p.m. and therefore won’t be affected by employees getting off work at 5 p.m. However, school buses are on the roads in the morning between 7:15 and 8 a.m. – about the same time that employees would be arriving at work.

“The biggest challenge is going to be traffic, and it will only be a challenge in the morning,” Liverman said. “Any increase on Kenyon Road is our only major concern.”

The School Board members voted 7-0 to allow Liverman to draft a resolution and send it to the CenterPoint developers, asking them about the possibility of staggering workers’ shifts so that nobody is arriving at work between 7 and 8 a.m.