Murrysville Council sets conditions for Sloan ‘elementary campus’ project

October 6, 2018
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Above, an architectural rendering of the upper elementary building proposed for the Sloan campus.

If their proposal to renovate Sloan Elementary and build an upper elementary school on the Sloan campus is approved, Franklin Regional officials will be required to monitor water quality in Haymaker Run, conduct a traffic study after the new “elementary campus” opens, and potentially pay for improvements to the roads bordering the project.

Murrysville Council members settled on a list of conditions at their meeting Wednesday night, which will be imposed on the school district if council approves the $54 million Sloan project.

That vote is set to take place Oct. 17. Plans for a special council meeting Oct. 10 were scrapped.

A raft of conditions, however, did not sway the opinions of several residents who have consistently opposed the project.

Resident Scott Weinman pointed to concerns about increased traffic, saying that the proposed project “is poised to make a mess all over Sardis Road.”

“This project is toothpaste,” Weinman said. “Once it’s out of the tube, it will not be cheap or easy to put back in.”

Resident Russ Phillips said he felt the school district was bullying residents into accepting the project.

“I expect that you, the council, will stand up to this bullying, and not let the school district and their attorney intimidate you,” he told municipal council members.

Export officials added their voices to the chorus as well, as Councilman John Nagoda delivered a borough letter opposing the project.

School board member Dennis Pavlik defended the district’s decision to build on the Sloan campus.

“The municipality, and I was on council at the time, has been sort of not doing their due diligence in terms of road maintenance,” Pavlik said. “We’ve been told that the Crowfoot bridge is too narrow, that buses can’t get on it. That was never mentioned when I was on council. ... We’ve tried to work with the municipality, and I think we’ve made changes that are reasonable.”

Resident Valerie Mittereder said people who live near the school should not be subjected to the excessive traffic the project may bring.

“This is a bad location, that’s all we’re saying,” Mittereder said.

Phillips agreed.

“Two 800-person buildings do not fit there. It’s not compatible. It’s not harmonious,” he said, citing language in the municipality’s comprehensive plan about future development being in character with its surroundings.

Councilman Carl Stepanovich reiterated a concern that residents have brought up throughout the process: what might happen if there was an emergency at the new elementary campus.

“I think if there’s a serious incident, with parents and first responders coming into play, having (one-lane roads) like Crowfoot and Sardis (for access) will pose a real problem,” he said.

Council’s Oct. 17 meeting will be at 7 p.m. the municipal building at 4100 Sardis Road.

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