Report details traffic, noise from Hillview school
A study of plans to rebuild the Hillview Middle School campus in Menlo Park shows significant traffic and noise, but the negative impacts would be even worse if the project wasn't built, according to a draft environmental impact report released Feb. 18.
The Menlo Park City School District plans to build new classrooms, an auditorium, parking lots and other facilities to accommodate an anticipated jump in enrollment, from the current 670 students to an estimated 974 students in 2016.
Most of the traffic and noise problems detailed in the environmental report stem from the sharp increase in students, which will occur whether or not the facilities are built.
Construction is expected to begin next spring and last until December 2011. It would give the school an extra 7,100 square feet of building space, for a total of 80,000 square feet when the project is complete. The existing grass field would be replaced with an artificial turf athletic field.
According to the environmental impact report, the "environmentally superior alternative" to the project would require adding a new traffic signal at the intersection of Santa Cruz and Elder avenues. There are no feasible remedies for significant traffic impacts at a number of other nearby intersections, according to the report, prepared by Benson Lee Consulting and DKS Associates.
The report also says that a 6-foot sound wall along a portion of Elder Avenue is necessary to protect residents from significant noise from daily school operations.
The artificial turf fields should be "aired out" before installation to reduce potential airborne contaminants, and signs should be posted encouraging users to wash their hands after using the field, according to the report.
The 45-day public comment period on the environmental report began Wednesday, Feb. 18, and runs through Friday, April 3. Written comments may be submitted to: Ahmad Sheikholeslami, Director of Facility Planning and Construction, Menlo Park City School District, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton, CA 94027.
A public meeting on the draft EIR document and an update on campus design has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Hillview School Library. A public hearing to take verbal comments has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, during a special meeting of the Menlo Park City School District Board of Education at the Hillview School Library.
The consultants who prepared the environmental document will respond to written comments in the final EIR, which should be completed sometime in May.
The draft environmental impact report, or DEIR, is available online at www.mpcsd.org/facilities or it may be viewed at the following locations: the district office, 181 Encinal Ave., Atherton; the Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St.; and the Atherton Library, 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane.