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Building plan causes concern

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School Board heard a presentation Tuesday about the inside of a new building that will house adult and early-childhood education programs. But a group of residents who live near the planned new building were more interested on what will happen outside.

A group of about 20 of the planned building’s neighbors attended a Tuesday night school board meeting to raise concerns about what the new facility will do to traffic on their streets, and about what they called a lack of communication on the part of the district.

The planned building will be located on land the district owns near Dakota Ridge School and Diamond Path Elementary School. Streets in the area can get crowded when there is an activity at one of the schools or sporting events on the school’s fields. Cars parked on the side of the street can narrow the traffic lane.

Neighbors said the additional traffic generated by the new building, which would house early childhood family and special education classes as well as adult basic education, would cause problems.

“You guys need to listen to the neighbors. 144th Street is not set for this kind of traffic,” said Steve Budnik, who lives near the site on 144th St. “You mark my word, there’s a child that’s going to get hurt.”

Other neighbors raised similar concerns, and one asked school board members if they had considered what the new building, which will offer classes at night, would do to crime rates in the neighborhood.

“I’m just very, very concerned,” neighbor Deb Burger said. “I’m concerned about property values.”

Board member Rob Duchscher said the district has conducted a traffic study on streets near the building and will follow any recommendations that come from that study.

Residents also said they felt blindsided when site work started on the building recently. The district has talked about the current site as a possibility at least since March of 2013, when it was mentioned at a school board workshop meeting along with a district-owned property near Eastview High School as a potential site. By July it had been identified as the sole site.

Residents complained they did not get enough notice of meetings where the planned building was discussed. The district only mailed out notices for the August meeting, but board chair Rob Duchscher said there have been 15 public meetings since December of 2012 at which the building plan has been discussed. Notices for all of those meetings were posted according to state law, he said.

The district is planning a 52,111-square-foot building on the site. The new building will house programs that are currently located in two rented spaces. It is expected to open in fall or winter of 2014.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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