New site plan Hamilton Ridge

The new site plan includes a new connecting roadway with gates, marked in blue by Assistant Superintendent Jeff Holmberg. The plan comes after the Savage City Council twice denied the original plan due to traffic concerns.

The Prior Lake-Savage Area School District Board approved an adjusted site plan for the yet-built Hamilton Ridge parking lot early Wednesday, May 15 after Savage City Council requested changes last week.

At the 7 a.m. meeting, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Holmberg gave an overview of the plan’s major change: a gated road connecting the bus lot and the lower parking lot. Dismissal and arrival traffic would enter from 157th Street access and queue on the lower parking lot before exiting onto 156th via the upper lot or back onto 157th. Additionally, directional signs would be installed near the gates.

“We’ve been working with the city of Savage for several weeks on the site plan, and we wanted to provide an update and seek approval on some adjustments we’ve made at the request and expectation of the city council,” said Superintendent Teri Staloch, referring to the council’s rejection of the original site plan.

The council denied approval out of concern that the original design would bring a disruptive amount of traffic to the surrounding areas.

Holmberg said the requested changes to the site could “come with a price tag” of an added $175,000.

Additionally, Holmberg was asked by several council members whether safety would become a concern with the new design.

“We had to certainly take that into account,” Holmberg said. “In many of our schools our gyms are proximal to field space. We anticipate students going back and forth (across the road). We had to put measures in, with those two gates, in order to not have traffic going through during the day.”

On May 6, Savage city officials said the school district needs to compromise with its site plan before tabling the proposal a second time. While Holmberg previously stated Hamilton Ridge would likely be delayed past its set 2020 opening, he said Wednesday that if Savage City Council approves the site plan at its May 20 meeting, the school would stay on track.

“If there are any more delays, we might have problems,” Holmberg said.

Savage City Council’s first objections came in mid-April after first seeing the original parking lot design. On May 6, Councilman Matt Johnson said the results show there needs to be a north exit for parents, which the new plan fulfills.

“We aren’t asking the school to solve a traffic problem, we are asking the school to not give us a traffic problem,” Councilman Bob Coughlen said.

The board’s vote Wednesday morning carried 6-0.