High School Parking Lot Redesign Tweaked for Better Flow
WETHERSFIELD - The $75 million Wethersfield High School expansion and renovation project is through its design development phase, during which slight parking lot configuration adjustments were made, engineers told the Wethersfield Board of Education last Tuesday, Nov. 13.

       The eastward relocation of the tennis courts will be moved “back a little,” Malik said. The tennis courts were going to be moved in order to accommodate expanded parking at the north of the school.

       The redesigned parking lot is expected to have handicapped accessible parking at all areas of the site, with 220 spaces, up from the current 34, adjacent to the playing fields, Malik said.

       “That means someone in a wheel chair will be able to easily access all portions of the school,” he said.

       To contend with morning and afternoon traffic gridlock, plans are in place for parents and students to enter from Wolcott Hill Road, after which students will proceed to their parking area, while parents “queue up” for drop-off or pick-up.

       “The concern we had was the conflict between the parents picking up and dropping off at the student entrance and also students walking from their cars into the school,” Malik said.

       Parents will follow a loop route around the east side of the school and exit toward Folly Brook or Wolcott Hill Road, he said.

       Teachers have been assigned the entrance coming off of Jay Street, which they will share with the bus route.

       “What this does is limit the number of vehicles coming off Wolcott Hill,” Malik said.

       The development team will seek approval from the Board of Education in March, which, if successful, will send them to review at the state level, Laurel Pruscell said. The project goes up for bid in May, with construction beginning with the building additions--a new gymnasium, music room and library/media center--in July.

       Renovations in existing buildings will prompt the use of the gym for temporary classrooms, Pruscell said.

       “That’s going to provide us with the space we need to empty the parts of the renovated buildings and build on that,” she said.

       Highlights of the project, from the inside, include a renovated auditorium with seating designed to create the best view of the stage based on where one sits and a balcony area with 185-195 seats. There will be 610-615 additional seats at the lower level, with elevator access to the balcony.

       The academic wing will include a solar panel-equipped green roof that will be accessible to students, Malik said.

       “Students will be able to come out and look at the panel up close and maintain the green roof,” Malik said.

       The development team is looking to garner Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) classification for the project, which will have to earn a minimum of 50 points in areas related to conservation in order to meet the criteria, Malik said.

       “The goal is to take the environmental aspect of this project and make it the front and center in our science curriculum,” Malik said.

       The north side of the school will see the drilling of 220 geothermal wells, Malik said.