Horizon Community Learning Center looks to acquire parking lease for school - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Horizon Community Learning Center looks to acquire parking lease for school

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Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2014 2:30 pm | Updated: 2:34 pm, Tue Mar 11, 2014.

Horizon Community Learning Center (HCLC) is currently in the works on leasing new parking spaces for its families and staff.

The approximate four-acre parking lot is directly adjacent from the school’s facility, and will offer a new solution towards the heavy traffic the school experiences during the beginning and end of school days.

Traffic at Horizon circles along Frye Road and 50th Street, in which parents experience delays while dropping their child off for school.

Faculty and staff have tried to calm the situation down by having any able body out assisting with the flow of traffic, but it’s still a concerning issue.

Executive Director Betsy Fera said the school has been trying to find solutions to enhance the school’s parking, and it has become an issue over the years because the school doesn’t have any type of bussing system.

In a letter sent out to parents of Horizon, Fera expressed that with the help of Sen. John McComish, Rep. Jeff Dial, and Rep. Robert Robson, the school has been working with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the city of Phoenix since October on a lease for the land directly across the street to use for temporary parking.

“We met with ADOT and they were open to looking at a lease. We can’t buy the land because it’s not for sale, but it’s more of a short-term lease,” Fera said. “That really changed how we were looking at the use of the land. It’s going to be more of a temporary parking, if we are able to pursue the project. It’s temporary because should ADOT need the land for other uses we would need to vacate the lease.”

The green light was given to pursue and bid for the parking project, but for financial reasons the project is currently in a state of limbo.

Bids for the lease came in upwards of $100,000, with the highest bid reaching more than $200,000, Fera said.

If the school chooses to pursue the parking project the money to lease the land would come from the school’s Repair and Maintenance fund, which is allocated for campus projects.

“It’s a big, important project in terms of student safety,” Fera said.

The parking lease will create 200 additional parking spaces for the school, and crosswalks will be made for students to safely cross from the parking lot to the school grounds.

Horizon would also keep their parking agreement they currently have with St. Benedict Catholic Church.

In addition to leasing the new parking space, the school will eliminate any parking along Frye Road, and cars will be issued to park in the temporary parking space.

Fera said there has been positive feedback from parents about the parking project, and feel this project is needed at Horizon.

Amy Henson, parent at Horizon, said she loves the school, but traffic is the most challenging part.

“It can be frustrating and the most time consuming part of having a child there,” she said. “To me it’s worth it, but it can become frustrating.” Henson feels the temporary parking lot will be a helpful way towards alleviating traffic.

“I think it will be a huge help because it takes a lot of the traffic that’s in the Catholic Church and puts it on the other side,” Henson said. “If we could disperse that it would be a huge help.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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