Berlin School To Get New Parking Lot On Main Street

NEWARK – In an effort to alleviate the congestion-prone
parking situation at Buckingham Elementary, county school officials this week
approved a $200,000-plus project to add a 40-space staff parking lot in front
of the school on Main Street in Berlin.

County Board of Education members on Tuesday approved the
low bid for the proposed parking lot expansion at Buckingham Elementary that
could go a long way to improving the traffic and parking situation at the
school which has confounded town officials and residents for years. While the
proposed staff parking lot will not directly address the problems with the
morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times at Buckingham, it should free up
some more space for parking in other areas and relieve some of the congestion,
according to school officials.

“There will be no changes to the entry to the school from
the street, although there will be some noted changes within the school
property, particularly the bus loops,” said Worcester County Public Schools
Facilities Planner Joe Price. “This will increase staff parking and alleviate
some of the problems with the bus loops.”

The expanded staff parking lot will occupy a grassy area
in front of the school at the center of the existing bus loop. School board
members on Tuesday approved the low bid for the project, submitted by Precision
Grading Services, Inc. at a little over $208,000. Three bids were received for
the project with the high bid coming in at slightly more than $218,000.

The project will be paid for with a cooperative effort
from the state and the county. The state’s Qualified Zone Academy Bond program
will furnish $55,000 in state funds for the project, while the county will
supply the additional $153,390 from the fiscal year 2007 school construction
budget. The low bid falls within the budgeted parameters and no additional
expenses are anticipated.

The project includes earthwork and asphalt paving,
concrete curbs and gutters, sidewalks and bumpers, crosswalks, site lighting
and stormwater management.

The bid also includes an add-alternate that will match the
existing light fixtures on the site with the new ones added during the project.
Some school board members voiced concern the old cupola that sits on the grassy
site in front of the school would be removed, but Price assured them it would
be retained.

While the proposed lot should help the parking and traffic
issues at the school, it will not be a cure-all, according to Price.

“It will alleviate some problems right now,” he said. “It
may not alleviate everything when they have big functions at the school, but it
should help a lot.”