NSA campus gets green light

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Planning Commission on Tuesday gave the nod of approval to a satellite campus in Harbour View for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

Representatives for the school said during the meeting that the new campus will serve 3-year-old kindergarten through the third grade. It will accommodate families who either live or work nearby and find the drive to the school’s main campus on Pruden Boulevard to be an obstacle.

“It can take quite a bit of time to get from Harbour View to Pruden Boulevard,” Melissa Venable with Land Planning Solutions said during the public hearing. Parents of the younger children are often uneasy with having their child so far away during the day, she added.

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The two-story building planned for the 2.8-acre site will be about 26,500 square feet, including a 4,000-square-foot gymnasium. Nine classrooms with about 20 teachers and other staff are planned, and the campus will serve about 170 students.

The location at 6001 Harbour View Blvd. is currently owned by TowneBank as part of its corporate campus there. Keith Horton of TowneBank said during the meeting that the bank is “in this for the long haul” with the academy.

Planning Commission Chairman Howard Benton questioned whether there would be enough room on the site to expand to accommodate more students or more grade levels.

“It looks like you’re really maxed out,” he said, looking at a map of the site.

But Bill Hargrove with HBA Architects said there would be enough room in the proposed building to go up to fifth grade by cutting up multipurpose rooms.

“It’s not our intention to ever go beyond fifth grade on this campus,” Hargrove said. “This is a feeder school to our main campus.”

Brian Rowe, a member of the school’s board of trustees, said the campus will operate by the same standards and procedures as the main school but have a separate head of school.

A separate entrance along Harbour View Boulevard will be created for the school, and a traffic impact study found the school would generate less traffic than an office building there.

It was approved 6-0. Commissioners Thomas Savage and Jim Vacalis were absent.

In other business at the meeting, the commissioners approved a new daycare facility, Unique Little Hands, at 3000 Godwin Blvd. It also was approved 6-0.

Both projects will be considered by the City Council at its April 15 meeting.