Town OKs Ressie Jeffries plan

FRONT ROYAL – A plan to renovate Ressie Jeffries Elementary School moved forward this week.

The Planning Commission voted Wednesday to approve the site development plan for the school that includes a 1,130-square-foot addition and two, separate parking lot expansions. The addition is located in the front of the building at 320 E. Criser Road and will serve as the new entrance and foyer. The addition will include two offices that require visitors to enter and check in with staff before going into the main building.

The school division is spending $207,432 to design the new entrance and roof.

The county submitted the original site plan March 30 and a revised version May 11. In March, school officials said it would take approximately six months to build the new entrance and 18 months to construct the roof. Once the town approves the designs, the school system plans to seek bids for the project. Construction would begin this summer.

The site plan calls for the addition of 80 parking spaces. The new parking arrangement is broken up into two areas with one on the southern side of the property in the left corner of the school. The second parking area lies to the east of the school in an area used as a playground. Handicapped parking spaces are being added to comply with accessibility requirements. Both lots require grading and filling and include standard landscaping as required by the town code.

A sidewalk is proposed from the east entrance to the school entrance to accommodate pedestrians such as the residents at Royal Arms Apartments across the street, according to town information. Curb and gutter also would be installed along the front of the lot on East Criser Road between the east and west entrances.

Planning and Zoning Department officials recommended that the county consider traffic flow at the school by using the eastern entrance as the primary access point and the western entrance as an exit only. This plan would allow the town to move the left-turn lane farther east, improving safety and leave more space for future street improvements and a trail along Criser Road. The county is considering this suggestion but is not addressed in the current plans.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com