Cape Henlopen narrowing down location of new school

Properties along Route 24 and near Five Points considered
Property along Route 24 near Beacon Middle School is among eight land parcels the district is considering to build a new school. BY MELISSA STEELE
July 29, 2013

Cape Henlopen School District is considering eight parcels of land as possible sites for a new elementary school and plans to narrow down the options pending a state planning group's recommendations.

"We haven't started negotiations with any of these groups," said Brian Bassett, Cape Henlopen director of administrative services, during a July 24 meeting with the Preliminary Land Use Service board.

Cape Henlopen School District worked closely with the state planning office in choosing the eight parcels, Bassett said, and would use the PLUS board's comments to narrow down the choices. The PLUS board is made up of officials from several state agencies: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Department of Transportation, Department of Education and the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Six properties are located off Route 24, across from, adjacent to or close to Beacon Middle School. Those parcels are owned by Paul Townsend.

Two properties are off of Beaver Dam Road near the Five Points intersection – one owned by the Rollins family, the other by the Delaware State Housing Authority. Bassett said these locations would allow the district to easily pull students from the northern part of the district.

"It would make a much shorter trip for the students," he said.

Bassett said some of the Route 24 locations could benefit from road improvements that were made when Beacon Middle School was built; DelDOT is planning capital improvements for roadways in the Route 24 area that Cape Henlopen also could tie into.

The district could also tie into road improvements in the works for a development off Beaver Dam Road.

The district wants to build a new 720-student elementary school to ease overcrowding in the district. The school board agreed to build a new school after months of discussion about options to handle future student growth. Along with a new school, classroom additions to Mariner and Beacon Middle schools are proposed.