Aspen schools campus to go `pedestrian’ in the fall |

Aspen schools campus to go `pedestrian’ in the fall

Sarah S. Chung

Next fall, Aspen’s high school students will be driving less and walking more.

The 310 parking spaces will no longer be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The school will allot permits for the much-sought-after spots, and high school students will no longer be given carte blanche to roar onto the campus.

“The idea was borrowed from college campuses,” said Tom Farrell, superintendent of the Aspen School District. “We think we have a beautiful campus and the more you get rid of concrete and put in more green, the better the results.”

Only about half the senior class will be permitted to drive to school this September. All other students – including Colorado Mountain College students – will be evaluated for permits on an “as-need basis,” Farrell said. The campus will be gated to better control access.

The district’s four parking lots will be merged into two larger lots and street parking will be eliminated. High School Road will be narrowed and used only by emergency vehicles. It will form a horseshoe in front of the district offices that will be transformed into a “beautiful picnic area,” according to plans.

“The current parking was a haphazard configuration that didn’t really work for the district and definitely wouldn’t work for the recreation that’s coming,” said Jeff Woods, director of Aspen parks and open space.

The recreation he was referring to includes the building of four baseball fields, three soccer fields, and a vastly improved football field. Woods believes the new pedestrian-oriented campus will accommodate visitors in a more efficient manner.

Though the schools will have first shot at use of the new fields, the campus will become a focal point of “world class recreational opportunities for the entire community,” Woods noted. And, according to the parks director, the replacement of the district’s two “substandard” baseball fields and “non-championship” soccer and football fields could not have come at a better time.

Construction of the two baseball fields and the soccer field on the Moore property will begin this summer and should be completed by fall. Work on the fields planned at Iselin Park is scheduled to start in 2000, but the project may stall if a recreation bond isn’t passed in the upcoming May election.

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