The Oconee County Board of Education reacted cautiously last Monday to school Chief Operating Officer Brook Toole’s update on the four roundabouts planned for Malcolm Bridge Road, including one each at the parent and bus entrances to Malcom Bridge Middle School.
Board Chair Tom Odom was concerned that the School System was receiving all of the information it needs from the county regarding the plans and the right of way the Board of Education will have to surrender for the roundabouts.
She also wanted to know if the work would be completed by the time school starts in August. Toole told her it would be.
Toole told Odom and Board Member Wayne Bagley the work was being done not because there is any special problem with traffic at the school entrances at present but because of planned construction of the shopping center called The Village at Malcom Bridge, opposite the school entrances.
The county’s Development Review Committee, at its meeting on Feb. 15, reviewed the site development plans for a first phase of that shopping center consisting of six buildings.
Toole told the Board of Education that the School System had been informed by the county of the redesign of Malcom Bridge Road.
|Map Toole Provided Board Of Education|
Toole said that he, Jake Grant, director of facilities, and Dallas LeDuff, director of Student Services, attended a meeting on Feb. 22 to discuss the right of way and easements needed for the project.
Within a distance of 0.8 miles, Toole said, four roundabouts will be built, including one at the staff and bus entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School and one at the parent drop-off entrance.
One of those roundabouts is opposite the current development of The Village at Malcom Bridge, while the other is opposite planned future expansion of that project.
“The Operations Division will be evaluating these requests,” Toole told the Board, and, if appropriate, be asking the superintendent to recommend approval of right of way and construction easements for this project.”
Odom asked Toole if traffic problems at Malcom Bridge Middle school are worse than those at other schools.
“We check all of the schools,” Toole said. “I can tell you Malcom Bridge is pretty much in line with the other schools. We don’t see an issue.”
“Have we received everything we need from the county?” Odom asked.
“We have, for the easements,” Toole said. “We received one and we’re waiting on one.”
Toole told the Board that the Sheriff’s Office will no longer put officers at the school entrances once the roundabouts are completed.
He also said he had been told work would be completed this summer before school starts.
Construction of the entrances to the new Dove Creek Elementary School were not completed on schedule.
Odom asked for an update on the Malcom Bridge road work each month from Toole.
Details of the roundabouts at the entrance to The Village at Malcom Bridge dominated discussion of site development plans at the Feb. 15 meeting of the Development Review Committee, the county body that reviews plans for new projects approved for the county.
|Site Development Plan The Village At Malcom Bridge|
Richard Breedlove, representing developer Rodney Jones, said he was concerned about the number of roundabouts in such a short distance and wanted to make sure all were designed consistently.
Jones submitted plans at the meeting showing six one-story buildings on the middle section of the nearly 10-acre lot between Malcom Bridge Road and Lenru Road.
A little more than 1 acre at the intersection of the two roads is not included in this initial phase of development, nor is 1.6 acres at the parent entrance to Malcom Bridge Middle School.
On Oct. 2 the Board of Commissioners approved a request by Lenru Properties LLC to modify the conditions of a business rezone (B-1) granted by the Commission in 2004. Lenru Properties is a partnership involving Jones, 1520 Crystal Hills Drive, and Philip Hammond, 1516 Bracken Ct., off Fern Hill Road.
The Board allowed Lenru Properties to reduce the number of allowed buildings from 21 small buildings to eight larger ones but stipulated that the developer had to provide land for roundabouts at Lenru Road and at the parent school entrance.
Oconee County Public Works Director Jody Woodall told me in an email message on March 7 that the county is “currently completing the design plans for the roundabouts.
|Woodall Concept Plan Mars Hill Road And Malcom Bridge|
“We anticipate starting construction in the middle of May,” Woodall said, “and the goal is to complete the roundabouts before school starts in August.
“This schedule is tentative and is contingent on suitable weather, utility relocations, and right-of-way acquisition,” Woodall said.
Woodall also provided plans for the project, showing a roundabout at the intersection of Mars Hill Road and Malcom Bridge Road, the roundabouts at the two school entrances, and the roundabout at the intersection of Lenru Road and Mars Hill Road.
No roundabout is planned for the Malcom Bridge Elementary School entrance.
Woodall also provided concept plans for three of those four roundabouts. (Click on any of the plans above and below to enlarge it.)
School Athletic Fields
As part of his report at the March 4 Board of Education Meeting, Toole provided an update on the analysis of lighting at the baseball, softball, football and practice fields at Oconee County High School and the baseball, soccer, football and softball fields at North Oconee High School.
|Woodall Concept Plan Two School Entrances|
All of the fields at Oconee County High School are below recommended standards, Toole’s report shows, while baseball and soccer fields at North Oconee High School are below standards.
Toole told the Board he would be issuing a request for proposals for upgrade of the four Oconee County High School fields shortly, with work on those fields expected to be completed this summer.
Work on the North Oconee High School fields will take place next summer, Toole said
“This is obviously an issue that we have heard from people about for a while,” Board Member Tim Burgess said. “So I really appreciate what you all have done with this. In terms of doing the assessment, doing the evaluation, determining what the issue was or wasn’t and then putting the proposal together.”
The first video below is of Board of Education meeting of March 4, 2019.
Toole began his operations report at 11:45 in the video.
This second video is of the Development Review Committee meeting of Feb. 15.
Gabriel Quintas, assistant planning director for the county, chaired the meeting.
Discussion of the site development plans for The Village at Malcom Bridge begins at 1:43 in the video.