Friday, February 1, 2008
Both sides of fence meet Monday
Residents, school officials agree to base rock path, opening another gate
by Emily Atwood
Amador Valley High School Principal Bill Coupe facilitated what was said to be the final meeting Monday night discussing the school's rear entrance off of Gatetree Circle. Attended by a group of about 30 residents and parents, the consensus was to possibly open another gate until the school district could lay ground rock over the fire path.
Coupe and several residents said the fence--that replaced a gate earlier this school year that once allowed campus entry by way of the sports fields--is an effective solution to the concerns of traffic, parking and safety that many residents said lowered their quality of life. A chain link fence now re-routes students around the edge of campus--adding about 200 to 300 yards to the route--on a fire road that heads toward the parking lot, not the classrooms.
Even though a general agreement was reached, members of both sides expressed frustration and said their compromises were greater. In a show of hands to who wanted the gate reopened, about nine people showed interest.
Only one student attended the meeting. She, along with a handful of parents, complained of mud along the new path making the path practically unusable. To make the route more accessible during inclement weather, Hugh Anton, district director of architectural planning and management, said the school district offered to pay $16,700 to have a base rock layer installed on the fire path. He was unsure of where that money would come from.
Some were only moderately pleased at this solution, as Anton said the construction would start once the rain cleared up and couldn't take place on the weekend because of overtime fees for workers.
One resident said he used the path to get to the meeting and insisted that the path was not muddy as some claimed, and held up his clean shoe as proof. Another resident said the path need only be leveled and set up to drain properly.
Coupe and Amador's vice principals traversed the path after the meeting during on and off rain showers. While there were puddles, he said "there are ways to walk through that are passable." Until the district is able to lay down the base rock on the fire path, Coupe said a compromise on rainy days could be opening a fence near the tennis courts so students can walk on asphalt.
Some residents shared concern over the fire route improvements, saying it could make it more attractive to students and reverse the progress made in regards to traffic and parking. There was also no advancement on the idea of permit parking, as Coupe said it would be handled by the city, not the school district. There were mixed views regarding permit parking, with some not wanting their visitors to be ticketed.
After the last meeting, Coupe said the residents were to meet on their own about the changes and bring a consensus message to him prior to Monday's meeting. However, he said he didn't hear back from them. For those with further concern about the projected changes, he said he welcomes feedback. He can be reached at 461-6100.