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October 21, 2014

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Green Valley Christian School seeks to expand to nearby building

School had earlier fought charter school’s attempt to expand into same building

Green Valley Christian School

Less than three months after raising vocal opposition to a charter school’s efforts to move into a vacant office building across the street, Green Valley Christian School is working on a plan to expand its own school into the same building.

The Henderson Planning Commission considered Green Valley Christian’s request for the necessary permits Sept. 24, but continued the matter to Oct. 15 in order for city traffic engineers to take a closer look at the traffic impacts of the school’s proposed expansion.

When the Coral Academy of Science, a charter school emphasizing math and science studies based in the Silverado Ranch area, submitted the same requests earlier this year to move its fourth through 10th grade operations to the building across the street from Green Valley Christian Academy, Coral officials were met with fierce opposition.

Administrators and parents at Green Valley Christian argued that another school on their cul-de-sac, Valle Verde Court, would overwhelm traffic in the area and pose a safety risk to students. Coral administrators offered to begin and end their school sessions half an hour earlier than Green Valley Christian, a plan that won approval from Henderson traffic engineers and city planners, but the offer did not sway the opposition.

Public hearings for Coral’s request for the necessary permits to move into the building were continued several times during a period of months. When the application re-appeared on the Sept. 24 agenda, it had been amended to show that Green Valley Christian was now the applicant for the permits, with a short note explaining that the school is in negotiations to buy the office building, which Coral had planned to rent.

No other explanation was given for the switch, and calls to Coral Academy and Green Valley Christian administrators were not returned.

When it became obvious that the matter would not be decided in time for the current school year, Coral officials signed a one-year lease for another site, located on Corporate Circle in Henderson.

At the Planning Commission hearing for Green Valley Christian’s application, most of the discussion focused on the traffic impact of the school’s proposed expansion, which would house its middle- and high school-students.

Though Green Valley Christian only has 39 middle- and high-school students at present, it is asking for permission to have up to 360.

Parents, students and staff members of Green Valley Christian filled the Commission’s chambers to show their support for the school’s plan, and those who chose to spoke said Green Valley Christian’s application differed from the one Coral Academy had submitted, because most parents of middle- and high-school students will already be at Green Valley Christian for their younger children.

“I don’t think that we’re going to be adding a whole lot of traffic,” parent Michael Cavanaugh said. “I think a lot of cars, a lot of parents, are already going to be there, anyway.”

Green Valley Christian administrators also offered to start and end middle- and high-school classes half an hour earlier once there are 100 students in those grades, in an effort to offset future traffic growth.

Though an independent traffic engineer told the Planning Commission that he believes nearby Sunset Road will be able to handle any additional traffic at the school with some minor tweaks to nearby stoplight cycles, commissioners said they wanted time for city traffic engineers to review the claim and take another look at the traffic study.

“We need to know what that congestion is and if it will be bearable,” Planning Commission Chairman Dan Shaw said.

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