Kent Worley is an eminent landscape architect having helped design perhaps the most noteworthy development in Duluth for the past fifty years - the I-35 corridor.
Having lived 37 years in the Ordean School neighborhood and having spent my design career in Duluth dealing with land planning issues from Spirit Mountain to Interstate 35, I am seriously concerned about serious short and long term site space limitations at the two proposed high schools. The following may help summarize these concerns.
Now relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan, my concern is solely that of responsible land planning for what I have always considered a wonderful city, and believe there is no reason for Duluth to accept out-of-date and below state and acceptable standard public developments which can become burdon and safety hazzards, to the School District, the City, neighborhoods and Duluth citizens. Please feel free to respond with questions you may have regarding the following points.
anybody looked at 21st century high schools to see what is being
built and how these are being planned?
of us have, and what ISD 709 is settling for compared to what is being built is
not only shameful, it is outrageously so far below acceptable standards that it
is difficult to understand why this City or District would be satisfied with
what Johnson Controls and ISD 709 are proposing.
quality high schools include:
6 to 8 tennis
courts; Ordean will have
fields; Ordean will have one.
fields; Ordean may have one.
football/soccer field; Ordean
will have one.
football/soccer practice field; Ordean
will have none.
Ordean will have none.
spaces for this population school; Ordean
will have only half, or 440 [assuming they build them according to the latest
JCI concept plan – over and destruction of the ravine because there is no
other space for parking other than destroying this absolutely unique and
beautiful wooded ravine and stream]
ft. of student drop off walk and curb;
Ordean will unsafely use
parking student drop area; Ordean
space will be fortunate to have 1/3 of this.
typically set back from collector streets 300 to 600+ feet;
Ordean will be 40 [only forty] feet away from a major street, about
2 ½ car lengths away]
space for parking/driving pedestrian safety;
Ordean will have little to none.
or outdoor classroom areas; Current
JCI plan shows clearing and filling the one high quality natural feature on
collection spaces; Ordean
will have limited to no space for this.
isolation from surrounding traffic noise and vehicular fumes;
Ordean will need to keep windows closed for sound and air quality
Sites need space
for expansion---often buildings & athletics expand 1/3 and more;
Ordean will have no space for this.
normal support needs for deliveries, storage, maintenance equipment and parking
and reasonable space between all these features which are necessary for site
utility, safety, appearance and flexibility;
Ordean will not fit all these needs on the 26 to 34 acres being proposed,
less the 4 acres of unbuildable land.
have all kinds of utilitarian, storage structure, and maintenance & athletic
equipment on-site storage needs. Ordean
will have to stack and squeeze these kinds of features in between parking,
building and athletic fields. There is just no space on this site.
Oh, by the way,
the state’s recommended minimum site sizes mean 50 to 55 acres of BUILDABLE
land; Ordean has over 4 acres
in completely unbuldable steep slope and ravine / stream condition, so the 26
acres is really only 22. Compare
that to the recommended 50 to 55 acres of buildable terrain this state knows by
experience is required.
Department of Education did not come up with recommended minimum site sizes of
50 to 55 acres for no reasons. This
is truly the size area needed to accomplish competitive high school needs.
And, aren’t we planning for the next 50-80 years?
What is wrong with this picture? No
doubt Mr. Dixon will claim, again, that he can fit it all on that site, but you
know what—it cannot physically be done.
this project will not be built correctly, even after the $51
million dollars budgeted, then it is time to accept alternatives such as looking
at the overlooked site near Glenwood Street, or Plan B of Let Duluth Vote, or
the Unity Plan advanced by Myles/Bowman, or something else creative enough to
permit this district to provide equivalent 21st century high schools.
15-19, 2008 Kent
G. Worley, Landscape Architect