TVCA leader remains hopeful that a new $7.5 million campus will be approved

Parents and supporters of Treasure Valley Classical Academy’s planned campus expansion have another month until Fruitland’s Planning and Zoning Commission officially takes up the issue at a public hearing.

In July, the city council granted TVCA’s zoning appeal and remanded the issue back to the zoning department for further negotiations and a public hearing, which was expected to take place on Aug. 8, but has been pushed back to Sept. 12.

Stephen Lambert, executive director of American Classical Schools of Idaho, expressed no concern about the delay.

“We are working through the process with the city in order to satisfy their demands and concerns.  I am hopeful for a positive outcome,” he said.

The zoning commission had originally voted on June 13 to deny a conditional use permit that would have paved the way for a new middle and high school, called the TVCA Upper Campus. That denial was successfully appealed at the city council’s July 10 meeting.

At next month’s zoning meeting, commissioners will likely decide if TVCA’s mitigation strategies and changes to the original plan are adequate. Commissioners originally expressed concern about safe bicycle routes for kids, road extensions, a lack of funding for the costs of road improvements, the negative impact on commercial businesses and the Idaho Transportation Department’s incomplete review.

The estimated $7.5 million campus is planned for 8.62 acres under contract to purchase at the corner of North Arizona Avenue and Northwest 13th Street, southeast of St. Luke’s Clinic. The undeveloped land is zoned commercial and requires the zoning permit for a school campus. The Upper Campus would include three new academic buildings, a gym and cafeteria, a bus parking cul-de-sac, a 150-vehicle parking lot and a soccer field. The new campus would serve grades 7-12.

One of Lambert’s initial concerns was how these delays would affect their funding arrangements. But this week he said, “Our funding is preserved with the closing date adjusted somewhat.”

“The study had to be modified to incorporate the predicted impact of our mitigation strategies to the concerns that were raised.  The updated study has been accepted by the Idaho Transportation Department and the city traffic engineer — and they are working to review it,” Lambert said.

“The notable adjustments all relate to mitigation steps that address concerns in the original traffic study. We were not able to respond to the original set of concerns prior to the original hearing because we did not receive the feedback until the day of the hearing,” he added.

To address those concerns, Lambert estimates the project will cost an additional $1 million to $1.5 million. Rather than $7.5 million, the TVCA upper campus could top $9 million.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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