Relocation of The Peak School might go to spring ballot
After meeting with Frisco Town Council last year, representatives from The Peak School met with council again during a work session June 22 to discuss the possibility of moving its operations.
The Peak School wishes to leave its old building at 40 W. Main St. and lease land on the Peninsula Recreation Area’s boneyard to relocate and expand its facility and offerings.
There, the school hopes it will transform from a sixth through 12th grade school to a pre-K-12 school. The Peak School also would be able to take advantage of the recreation area and boost its outdoor education. Estimated to be 20,000 square feet, the proposed building would also house community spaces available for the town of Frisco or area nonprofits in addition to public restrooms and lockers.
The Peak School’s Head of School Travis Aldrich stressed that the new school would be built at no cost to residents. The old location would likely be sold, giving businesses the opportunity to use the Main Street space.
“Let’s work with you guys to develop a really awesome community building that The Peak School just happens to occupy during the school year,” said Chris Guarino of design and construction company Artaic Group. “That’s really the approach to how we want to plan this. … We’re just desperate for preschool facilities, and having that independent option here in town frankly could be a real draw for residents.”
However, under the town charter and state statute, park property may not be sold or leased unless first approved by a local election. Town Council believes the timeline to put the question on the November ballot is too tight.
For the fall timeline, the last day to notify the county would be July 23, a secondary reading of the ballot question would happen at the last regular meeting prior to the certification deadline Aug. 24, and the deadline to certify ballot content to the county would be Sept. 3.
“I’m supportive of the ballot initiative as a Step 1, for sure,” council member Andrew Aerenson said. “Do we have the time to work through whatever details are necessary to make us comfortable going forward with that approval of a ballot initiative between now and what effectively would be — let’s just call it Aug. 1?”
Council member Melissa Sherburne said she thought it would take several months to hammer out a deal and recommended bumping it to the spring ballot. She said there would be a greater chance of success when taking the process more slowly.
“A benefit of waiting is that in order to reach the deal, the public needs to be involved,” Sherburne said. “… I think the community really needs to be a part of it. … In a deal like this, there is going to be a lot of people who want to know about it in order to support it. The way they’re really going to know about it is being part of that deal negotiation in public through several meetings over several months. For me, it’s a little bit too fast. I totally support what you guys are doing. But if we’re going to do it, I want it to succeed.”
Town staff will work with the Peak School to better establish a timeline and terms of the arrangement before council will decide to move forward with the spring ballot process. Aldrich said November would be better in a perfect world, but Guarino added that waiting for the spring isn’t a deal breaker.
“I think (April) absolutely still works for us,” Guarino said. “At the end of the day, The Peak School doesn’t want to leave Frisco. That’s the bottom line. … I think we’re willing to do what it takes so that our council, our mayor and our staff are all comfortable with moving forward.”
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