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Council discussion of moving ALC modulars on hold

By Staff | Nov 1, 2010

After a discussion of moving 45 Alternative Learning Center modulars from Del Prado Boulevard to Santa Barbara Boulevard, North, the Cape Coral City Council decided to seek further answers from the Lee County School District regarding the change in plans.
The plan of bringing the portables back to the Lee Vo-Tech site on Santa Barbara Boulevard, South. is currently under review with the Lee County School District due to three school board members still needing to be sworn in and take their seats after the election, along with the district in the process of hiring a new superintendent.
The school district wants to address the long-term view on how the Alternative Learning Center Program will be delivered to Cape Coral students. The $2 million project of moving the modulars to Vo-Tech North located at 360 Santa Barbara Blvd., N., and the restoration of the Del Prado site has already been planned within the school district’s capital budget plan.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell brought the discussion item forward Monday to address the extension of the modulars moving from one location to another until the end of the school year, so it does not affect the community, parents and children.
Councilmember Erick Kuehn said the modulars were a temporary situation that will remain temporary until 2011.
The council addressed many topics during the discussion of moving the modulars, which included the entire plan of relocating the center changing, along with the school being located with a commercial corridor.
Councilmember Peter Brandt shared his concern that the entire plan has changed from its initial plan and that the school district should be present during the discussion to ask if they can change the proposal.
Brandt said from his recollection from previous discussions, the modulars were going to be at the Del Prado location for a short period of time, pending on development of a permanent structure for that site. Since then the situation has changed and instead of building something permanent for the Alternative Learning Center, it is now moving to another temporary site.
Assistant City Manger Carl Schwing explained that the school district at one time was anticipating a permanent facility, but with the current economic situation, that decision changed to having the modulars being relocated to a different site. He said the district is asking that the site on Del Prado be returned into its original condition upon moving to the new location on Santa Barbara Boulevard.
“We don’t know if or when we will see a permanent facility,” Schwing said, adding that, “they are moving these modulars to the High Tech North location … it is a better situation than before.”
Councimember Kevin McGrail said the issue was addressed way back in February 2007 when it was not intelligent to place a school building on Del Prado because they envisioned Del Prado North as a commercial corridor. He explained that he is pleased with the Lee County School System because they saw what kind of problems Caloosa Elementary and Middle school are facing because they are located next to the hospital and are deciding to relocate the Alternative Learning Center to another spot.
McGrail also expressed that he is happy that they are using common sense to not incur the expense and upheaval of families during the school year to make the move.
“I am very supportive of this move, he said.
“Santa Barbara is a new moving commercial development area,” Mayor John Sullivan said. “I wish they could stay out of those corridors.”
The issue of the current location appearing as a prison or jail due to fencing around the campus was also addressed.
“I know it doesn’t look nice, but it hasn’t looked nice in four years,” Kuehn said. “Quite frankly folks, if I was living on the Del Prado site and Santa Barbara site, I would fight it, simply because it is in my area and I don’t like that in my back yard.”
Donnell concluded the discussion by telling his fellow council members that he will talk further with the school district, so he could bring back more information.
“I would like to do some follow up and come back with more information,” he said.