Cape Henlopen submits building plan to state

Decision on whether to proceed could come by October
Cape school board members agreed recently to submit a final building proposal plan to the state for approval. BY MELISSA STEELE
September 2, 2013

The Cape Henlopen school board has agreed on a final proposal for state approval that includes a new school and classroom additions to handle student growth.

Facilities Director Brian Bassett said he intends to submit a plan to the Delaware Department of Education slightly different from the original plan. The difference is in the number of Sussex Consortium classrooms that would be added to the schools. Originally, Beacon Middle School was slated to receive 12 new classroom additions to handle student growth, and Mariner Middle School would receive six. The latest change adds 10 consortium classrooms to the new elementary school and six consortium classrooms to Beacon. Beacon and Mariner each would receive six classroom additions to handle student growth.

Sussex Consortium has grown by 30 students since 2009, said Superintendent Robert Fulton. A final student population count will be made Sept. 30 to determine the current number of students, he said.

The additional classroom space at the new elementary school will accommodate students currently housed in modular classrooms throughout the district, Fulton said.

The additional consortium classes increase the final building cost by about $5 million, Cape Henlopen taxpayers will pay $1 million less because the state pays 100 percent of Sussex Consortium building costs, Bassett said.

The total building project cost sent to the state for approval was about $35 million. Of that amount, the state would pay about $24 million and Cape residents would pay about $11 million – if the state agrees to the costs. The entire project would need voter approval by referendum, possibly held in spring.

Included in the latest building proposal is an appraisal cost to purchase land for a new elementary school. The district is considering land parcels off of Route 24 and Beaver Dam Road.

Bassett said the district is continuing discussions with the Department of Transportation and Sussex County sewer department to determine what areas are best suited for a new school.

One area of concern raised recently by DelDOT is the intersection of Beaver Dam Road and Plantation Road, he said.

“DelDOT is warning us ahead that something may have to be fixed, but they don't know what,” Bassett said.

Bassett said he expects to submit Cape's final building proposal by the end of August. District officials should know by October whether the state has approved it.

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