The Williamsburg-James City County School Division has earned approval from the James City County Board of Supervisors to expand Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School’s parking lot and can now put the project out for a bid.
The board went with the Planning Commission’s Dec. 2 recommendation to approve the special use permit for the project, which will add 51 new spaces to the lot and include drainage improvements and sidewalk construction.
Before casting his vote, Supervisor Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown) said he considers the parking lot expansion “a very worthwhile and necessary project.”
“This has been an ongoing concern for parents and teachers, and [also] a safety concern,” Onizuk said. “When there are significant events at the school, there are cars parked in every field and every crevice, but even during the school day … there are cars parked all over.”
Supervisor Ruth Larson (Berkeley), who previously served on the school board, said she was glad to see the expansion brought forward and encouraged the board to pay attention to cost efficiencies that do not affect parking lot sizes when building new schools.
“Sometimes parking unfortunately is the first thing that gets cut when we’re looking to save money when building a school, but we always have to come back and add parking,” Larson said. “We want to encourage people to get involved and have a place to come and park when they do school events.”
Alan Robertson, facilities manager for WJCC, said upon the completion of a final site plan review the project could be put out for bid. The school division could award a contract in the spring – $290,000 is budgeted for the expansion – and work would be completed over the summer.