BURNT HILLS: BH-BL fix up projects to go to voters

The second proposition involves current negotiations to buy a parcel of land at 3 Lakehill Road in the town of Ballston.

The parcel is undeveloped and located behind several existing homes at the very eastern end of Lakehill Road. It borders Fireman's Grove to the southeast, and property already owned by the school district for its bus garage and Stevens Elementary School on the western side.

School board members have placed four stipulations on the purchase of the land: The sale must be approved by voters on March 1; the land and closing costs can total no more than $98,000; local highway authorities must approve use of the land for access by school buses, and the pending sale of other district land off Swaggertown Road must be completed.

"It's very rare that land adjacent to one of our schools comes on the market," said District Superintendent Jim Schultz. "We've been looking for a way to redesign the traffic pattern at Stevens Elementary for years to make it safer."

District officials and school board members are looking into the future to plan for burgeoning enrollment as several new housing developments have sprung up in the district in the past few years.

"After a long period of stable enrollment, we've now surpassed 3,500 children for the first time in 20 years, and I predict more community growth is coming," said Schultz. "It's our job to be ready and always thinking long term, so that's what the school board has in mind with this proposition."

If the Lakehill Road land purchase is successful, Schultz expects the district will ask its architect to come up with options to redesign traffic patterns and parking at the bus garage and Stevens Elementary as early as 2008.

Stevens is the district's oldest school, built in 1931 before the town's roadways became so widely traversed. The school has limited parking space and no room to separate car and bus traffic for safety.

Another long-term district goal is space to enlarge the neighboring bus garage. The existing garage lacks training space, and its bus repair bays are so narrow and low that parts of the ceiling have been removed to allow buses to fit onto the lift for repairs.

The polls will be open on March 1 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the BH-BL High School gym on Lakehill Road. ""

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