Most would think that building a new school in the area is a good thing. It means there is a growing and thriving education system in the state. However, this is simply not the case when it comes to a new charter school set to be built in the Scottsdale, Arizona area. Basis operates 16 different charter schools throughout the state, and is now looking to expand by building a new middle and high school campus. The controversy does not stem from building a new school for students, but rather due to the potential location of the new school.
Neighborhood protest as a bad location
The new campus is set to be built on Shea Boulevard, which is the major stretch of road between central Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. In building the school at this location, it will cause not only a safety concern for students, but also a headache because of the traffic that will accumulate in the area. Residents feel so strongly about this issue that city officials have already received hundreds of emails. The City Council will meet near the end of February to discuss a solution to the problem.
What new charter school could bring
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the charter school among the top U.S high schools. Basis wants to expand because of overcrowding at one location just two miles northeast. Currently, that location has about 740 students, so building the new schools well help reduce some of the crowding. The plan was to open the new charter location by August of 2016. Basis also stated that the new location would have an upgraded science lab for chemistry and biology lessons, a large courtyard, full size gymnasium, and more classrooms.
Neighbors in the area still protest
Even with all the great additions the new charter school would bring, neighbors in the area are planning to protest. They believe it is just not the best location with the amount of students expected to enroll, not to mention the large number of faculty and staff. In protesting, the residents hope they can stop BASIS Scottsdale from being built in the area. Councilman Guy Phillips wants Basis to move the campus to a different site because it just isn’t right for the neighborhood. In fact there are no sidewalks or curbs. Some even think the only reason Basis wants to build the charter school at the Shea location is because it was the cheapest option available.
Basis responds back
In order for Basis to build on the nine-acre property, they would need City Council approval for agreements on the terms of the school operations and traffic control. They would be required to pay for a design and the construction of road improvements in the area, which would include a traffic signal be installed at 128th Street and Shea. Basis will continue to work with the city of Scottsdale to discuss the safety concerns of residents and city council members. For now it is simply a waiting game, as city council plans their next meeting to discuss the future of the Basis charter school.